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Social policy & advocacy

Tasmanian State Election - 2020

The Tasmania Branch is committed to engaging with critical policy, advocacy and social justice issues that impact Tasmanian member social workers and their clients.

We invite our members to contribute to the development of submissions and to participate in a range of policy and advocacy actions throughout the year.

If you are keen to get involved, don't hesitate to contact the Tasmanian Branch by email.

Our Position Statement

A State election is a pivotal opportunity for a government to create the conditions under which people will pursue healthy, meaningful and rewarding lives. As social workers, we measure the success of any government based on the social impact of their policies.

The Tasmanian Branch has developed a position statement outlining seven key areas of concern to social workers in the lead-up to the Tasmanian State Election which will be held on Saturday, 1 May 2021.

These broad areas are:

  • Social Work Registration
  • Child Safety Services
  • Health and Well-being of Children and Young People
  • Homelessness
  • Domestic and Family Violence (DFV)
  • Reconciliation
  • Climate Action

The position statement includes brief commentary, a key question and links to relevant AASW statements, position papers, and submissions.

Download or View the Tasmanian Election Statement 2021

What have we done in the lead up to the election?

We have sent letters based on our position statement to the following key party leaders and representatives:

Any response will be posted to our AASW TAS webpage and our Facebook page upon receipt.

We encourage our members to make contact with their local members and candidates to share your own perspectives and/or draw on our position statement to highlight the issues that are critical to ensuring that Tasmania is a place in which people, including the most vulnerable, can pursue healthy, meaningful and productive lives.

For more information and tips about communicating with your local MP or candidates, take a look at our webpage entitled Guidance for Communicating with Your Local MP.

Thanks for your support and, as a Branch, we look forward to working closely with our members to become an active voice in the social policy space moving forward.


Raise the Rate Campaign

Please join us in standing up for a fair rate of income support

The Federal election is a prime opportunity for Tasmanian Branch members to call on their local federal politicians to commit to raise the rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments. 

  • ACOSS: "Newstart has not increased in real terms in 24 years."
  • Kym Goodes TasCOSS CEO: "We call on the next Federal Government to raise the rate of Newstart by $75 a week to ensure recipients can focus on looking for work rather than dealing with financial crisis."
  •  AASW TAS Branch: "$39 per day is an inadequate sum to feed, clothe and shelter a person, let alone to seek employment and maintain health and wellbeing."

It's easy and it's quick to lobby your local parliamentarian. You can call or you can drop them a line.

Here's one way...

Here's another... 

Sign up to join the ACOSS campaign to Raise the Rate.

Tas Branch has signed up as an organisational supporter. It only takes a short time. Please join us. Let's aim to have as many Tassie social workers write a letter or sign up as possible!


Submission to the Tasmanian Joint Select Committee on Future Gaming Markets - December 2016

The Parliament of Tasmania established a Joint Select Committee to inquire into and report upon community attitudes to gambling and potential structural features of the Tasmanian Casino, Keno and Electronic Gaming markets from 2023 onwards. The Branch prepared a submission which will be made available soon.

Community Voice on Pokies Reform - November 2016

The Tasmanian Branch accepted the invitation to join the Tasmanian community group consortium Community Voices on Pokies Reform.

Tasmanian Palliative Care Community Charter Consultation - November 2016

Consultants engaged by DHHS to draft the Tasmanian Palliative Care Community Charter called for input from the Tasmanian Branch in November 2016. Feedback from members working in palliative care and the Branch Committee was provided by the Branch President.

DHHS Child Wellbeing Symposium - 15 November 2016

Branch Committee members Karen Ritchie and Jacqui Russell represented members at this invitation only stakeholder forum in Hobart in November. This continued the consultation process of the Strong Families, Safe Kids Redesign Project which the Branch has been involved in over the previous 18 months. Read the full report from Karen and Jacqui here.

Primary Health Network Tasmania - Stakeholder consultations on improving services to young people with or at risk of severe mental illness

Russell McCashney has been actively advocating with Primary Health Network Tasmania for the retention of social work mental health services in his role on the PHN TAS Allied Health Stakeholder Steering Committee. Eve Vincent, AASW TAS committee member, provided feedback on behalf of members to the PHN TAS consultation on service gaps and needs in October. AASW member Helen Barrett attended the PHN TAS Stakeholder Forum in Hobart as the branch representative on 31 October where potential models of service and broad recommendations from the prior needs assessment and consultations were discussed. Advocacy on behalf of social workers and their clients is continuing.

Children and Young People's Unique Experiences of Family Violence

The Tasmanian Branch was invited in June 2016 to contribute to the Commissioner for Children Tasmania's report on Family and Domestic Violence – Its Impact upon Children and Young People in Tasmania. The Branch prepared a submission with assistance from Sebastian Cordoba AASW National Social Policy Officer.  

The final report was released by the Commissioner on 21 September 2016 with several references and quotes from the AASW submission. 
Read the branch's submission here.
Download the Commissioner's report here.

On behalf of members the Branch Management Committee extends sincere thanks to BMC member Torna Pitman and Sebastian Cordoba for their contributions to this report.

Tasmanian Branch represented members at the Tasmanian Government's Supporting Families and Keeping Children Safe Forum December 2015

The Branch was invited to attend the Supporting Families and Keeping Children Safe Forum. The Forum was hosted by Dr Maria Harries (Chair of the Child Protection Redesign Reference Group) and Mark Morrissey, Tasmanian Commissioner for Children.

The Child Protection Redesign Reference Group has been established to provide expert advice on the redesign of the Child Protection Service. This also includes the development of a reform plan for the broader system to better protect children and support families.

Branch Committee member Karen Ritchie attended the forum held in Launceston on December 17 2015 and was able to offer members' insights on existing issues with the current system and suggestions for improvement to the forum. The Branch is pleased to continue to participate in stakeholder consultations.

Family Violence Screening in Emergency Departments

Letter sent to the Hon. Will Hodgman Premier of Tasmania in October 2015. Read the letter here.

Following receipt of the letter, the Branch was invited by The Premier's Office to meet with a member of the Tasmanian Government’s Family Violence Cross Agency Working Group, responsible for the work behind Safe Homes, Safe Families: Tasmanian’s Family Violence Action Plan 2015-2020 along with a senior advisor to The Premier. 

Submission to the Department of Health and Human Services
Re: Consultation on Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill 2015

The Tasmanian Branch was invited by DHHS to make a submission on the Draft Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill 2015. This followed on from the branch's submission in 2013 Response to the Legislative Amendment Review Reference Committee Discussion Paper: Advocacy for Children in Tasmania

The Branch's submission will be made available once permission to publish has been received.

Inclusion of secular workers in Chaplaincy in Schools program - part 2

Members may recall that the Branch wrote to the Minister for Education and Training in October last year regarding the inclusion of secular workers within the National School Chaplaincy Programme. Read that letter here. Following the Minister's response in November 2014 (click here), the Branch Committee resolved to again write to the Minister urging the Tasmanian Government and the Minister for Education to commit to continued discussion with the Australian Government on behalf of all in our school communities, and advocate for re-inclusion of secular workers in the Chaplaincy Programme. Read our second letter here.

The Wilderness Program (previously known as Project Hahn) funding withdrawal

The Tasmanian Branch was alerted to the withdrawal of funding of The Wilderness Program by branch member Jenny Forward. The branch was very concerned that such a long standing effective early intervention youth justice program has been abandoned by the current government. A letter outlining the branch's concerns was sent to Premier Will Hodgman. Similar letters were sent to the State Labor Leader Bryan Green MP and to the Greens member for Denison Cassy O'Connor MP. No response has been received as yet from the Premier's office or Ms O'Connor.

Read the letter here.
Read Bryan Green's response here.

Inclusion of secular workers in Chaplaincy in Schools program

The Tasmanian branch wrote to Deputy Premier & Minister Jeremy Rockliff to express its strong support for the Tasmanian government to continue to negotiate for the inclusion of secular workers in the Chaplaincy in Schools program in Tasmania. Read the letter here.  

A response from Deputy Premier Rockcliff was received and can be read here.

Response from Minister for Human Services re The Commissioner for Children

The Minister for Human Services has responded to the AASW Tasmanian Branch regarding the appointment of the Commissioner for Children. Mr Mark Morrissey has been appointed as Tasmania's next Commissioner for Children. The Branch welcomes the news that the appointment will be for five years as recommended by the Advocacy for Children in Tasmania Committee (ACTC) final report. 

The Branch also welcomes the announcement of the approval of all fifteen recommendations of the ACTC final report.The report was commissioned by the Tasmanian government to review the adequacy of advocacy services for children and young people in Tasmania and within that context to comment on and make recommendations about the role, functions and powers of the position of the Commissioner for Children.

The Tasmanian Branch participated in the legislative review by making a written submission to the Committee and was subsequently invited to a formal interview with Committee Chair Dr Maria Harries. Carol Dorgelo represented the Branch at that interview.

Read the letter here.
Read the ACTC Final Report.

Tasmanian Branch Letter to Minister for Human Services re The Commissioner for Children 

The President of the Tasmanian Branch has written a letter to The Honourable Jacqui Petrusma, Minister for Human Services, Minister for Women regarding the appointment of the Commissioner for Children for Tasmania. The position has been vacant since December 2013, when the acting Commissioner’s term ceased.

The Branch participated in the 2013​ Legislative Amendment Review Reference Committee Stakeholder Consultative Forum on the review of the Children Young Persons and their Families Act 1997. The branch was subsequently invited to discussions with the Committee Chair Dr Maria Harries. The current letter asked the Minister to comment on the implementation of the recommendations of the review.

Read the letter here.

Social Policy Survey 2014

Social Policy Feedback Report available now. Many thanks to those who responded to the Tasmanian Branch survey. If you were not able to take part, the Social Policy Sub-committee would still like to hear your views on the branch's direction and focus in social policy areas. Contact Carol Dorgelo e:


Contact us

Tasmania Branch Services Coordinator

Ph: 03 9320 1000 or 1800 630 124 (toll free alternative)


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AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers