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Branch News

Covid-19 Updates for Victorian Social Workers

10 August 2020

For COVID-19 information for social workers in Victoria, including restrictions, service provision, PPE, COVID-Safe Plans and Better Access, visit the Victorian restrictions update page.

4 August 2020

Update on Stage 4 Restrictions re: Workplaces

Following the Premier's press conference on additional details of Stage Four 'Stay at Home' Restrictions on Monday 3 August, it is confirmed that those working in the Health Care and Social Services Sector can continue to provide onsite care with a Covid Safe Plan in place as required.

Full details from DHHS available here

The relevant section from the DHHS document entitled Stage 4 Industries - Distribution is included here:

3 August 2020

New Restrictions Announced

Victoria has imposed wide-ranging new restrictions on travel, exercise, social engagement and shopping. A night curfew is also now in place across Melbourne. To learn more, we encourage you to read from official sources:

The official DHSS restrictions update

Premier Andrews' media release about Melbourne restrictions

Premier Andrews' media release about regional Victorian restrictions

These new restrictions will apply until at least 13 September 2020

Additional restrictions relating to industries and workplaces will be announced today.

'Mutual Obligation' Suspended

The Federal Government is suspending so-called 'mutual obligations requirements' for Victorian job seekers "until further notice".

This follows intense criticism last week, when the Commonwealth signalled it would reintroduce 'mutual obligations' at the same time as it was cutting the JobSeeker support payment to out of work Australians.

Mental Health Boost

The Commonwealth will provide Victorians with 10 extra Medicare-subsidised psychological therapy sessions to help support mental health through the second wave.

The change will apply to Victorians who have a Mental Health Treatment Plan, and will be available through until 31 March 2021.

* We acknowledge the work of VCOSS in preparing these updates. The Victorian Branch is a proud member of VCOSS.

Victorian Mental Health System - Workforce Survey

29 July 2020

Victorian social workers are urged to contribute to a critical survey as part of the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System.

The survey is open to all frontline mental health workers, including lived experience workforces who provide mental health treatment, care and support within Victoria's mental health services. Volunteers are also encouraged to participate.

The survey may take approximately 15-30 minutes to complete depending on your role, and the survey can be completed in more than one sitting. The survey closes at 5pm Monday, 10 August 2020. Please share among your networks.

Take the survey here

Upgrading of DHHS PPE Guidance for Healthcare Workers

21 July 2020

On Friday 17 July 2020, DHHS upgraded PPE guidance for healthcare workers and the following advice pertains to allied health private practitioners and/or community sector practice.

The revised guidance pertains to metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire as well as regional and rural areas not currently under stage 3 restrictions, and states that:

‘healthcare workers must wear a level 1 or type 1 disposable surgical mask in public-facing areas ... patients should also wear face masks in these same environments’.

View reference here:

We have clarified the application of this guidance for private allied health practitioners with Prof Andrew Wilson (SCV Chief Medical Officer & PPE Taskforce Chair) who has confirmed that the guidance should be interpreted in the context of the type of patient interaction, and is therefore not limited to specific practice settings.

AASW statement on Melbourne public housing towers COVID-19 lockdown

7 July 2020

We are closely monitoring the situation in the public housing towers in inner Melbourne. This is a complex and rapidly evolving situation.

While we recognise that public health must always come first, we need to make sure that if lockdowns are directed, they are being applied in a proportionate manner, that communication is delivered promptly and understood by those whom it affects, and that already marginalised people are not being targeted instead of supported.

We welcome the inclusion of social workers in the response to the needs of the tenants during this difficult time. We are finding that there was a regrettable lack of communication and notice to the tenants before a police presence to enforce lockdown was deployed on the weekend. It was disappointing to see that the response was law enforcement-driven, rather than care-focused. We know that many of the tenants have complex needs, including requiring medication, having children and other family members in their care, and in many instances, their first language is not English, making it difficult for some tenants to understand what was happening and why. Many of the residents in the towers who have escaped violence and armed conflict found the sudden presence of armed police at their home to be insensitive and re-traumatising.

We commend the work of the community sector, including social workers, who are delivering food and supplies to tenants, and providing much needed supports. The translation of information into languages other than English is being driven by the community itself.

We acknowledge the new arrangements that have been announced today to address the new surge in cases of COVID-19. We appreciate that Victorian Premier Dan Andrews’ assurance that the current arrangements for residents of the public housing towers will not continue for any longer than necessary.

If you would like to help with donations or with your services, please contact the community sector organisations who have joined the relief effort:

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre – UPDATED: Halt on food donations

Foodbank Victoria – seeking cash donations

FareShare - seeking cash donations

Sikh Volunteers Australia – seeking volunteers and/or cash donations

Moroccan Soup Bar – seeking volunteers and/or cash donations

Melbourne Period Project – seeking nappies, sanitary items and baby formula

AMSSA – seeking cash donations and/or volunteers

Ubuntu Project – seeking volunteers and/or cash donations

The Venny - seek cash donations

Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre - seek cash donations and/or volunteers (especially in languages other than English)

World Social Work Day 2020

17 March 2020

World Social Work Day is celebrated each year on the third Tuesday of each March. This year, it falls on Tuesday, 17 March 2020. World Social Work Day is when we celebrate and recognise social workers as champions for social justice, self-determination and human rights.

This year's theme is Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships.

Here in Victoria we're pleased to invite members and the wider social work community to join us for our annual World Social Work Day Breakfast Celebration.

We look forward to welcoming you - it's always a wonderful morning of celebration, reflection, inspiration and networking.

Date: Tuesday 17 March 2020
Time: 8am - 10am
Location: Woodward Conference Centre, University of Melbourne
More information and registrations here

This year we have secured two esteemed Victorian social workers as our
guest speakers:

Dr Mishel McMahon
Indigenous Academic Enrichment Advisor and Lecturer in Social Work,
Latrobe Rural Health School
Relatedness as a Way of Being: A First Nations Perspective

Naomi Halpern
Director - Delphi Training and Consulting
'What’s wrong with you?' vs 'What happened to you?': Attachment, trauma and every other damn thing that can go wrong!

World Social Word Day 2019

World Social Work Day was held on Tuesday 19 March for the Victorian social work community to come together and celebrate World Social Work Day at the Branch's annual breakfast.

Our guest speaker was social worker and fierce advocate for rights of people seeking asylum, refugees and Indigenous Australians Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM - CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

The theme of World Social Work Day 2019 is Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships.

The winner of our inaugural Victorian Branch Social Worker of the Year Award 2019 will Kate Incerti. Read Christine Craik's Speech Announcing Kate Incerti and describing Kate's acheivements here.

We would also like to acknowledge the incredible shortlisted candidates for last year's award:

  • Ada Poon, Services Coordinator with the Centre for Holistic Health;
  • Helen Riseborough, CEO at Women’s Health in the North; and
  • Metaxia Tsoukatos, Support and Safety Hub Manager with The Orange Door (Mallee)

Victorian Branch Social Worker of the Year Award 2019

Congratulations to the inspirational Kate Incerti on winning the inaugural Victorian Social Worker of the Year Award 2019.

Read Christine Craik's Speech Announcing Kate Incerti and describing Kate's acheivements here.

We would also like to acknowledge the incredible shortlisted candidates for last year's award:

  • Ada Poon, Services Coordinator with the Centre for Holistic Health;
  • Helen Riseborough, CEO at Women’s Health in the North; and
  • Metaxia Tsoukatos, Support and Safety Hub Manager with The Orange Door (Mallee)

Congratulations to all!

Contact the Victorian Branch

Level 7, 14-20 Blackwood Street
North Melbourne

PO Box 2008
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Parkville Vic 3050

T: 03 9320 1000

Connect with us on:

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers