The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2021-06-11T05:30:17Z OLDER AUSTRALIANS DESERVE SUPPORT AND RESPECT NOT ABUSE 2021-06-11T05:30:17Z older-australians-deserve-support-and-respect-not-abuse-1 One of the worst manifestations of ageism and inequality in our society is elder abuse.  On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (15 June) the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is drawing attention to the marked increase in cases of elder abuse being reported across Australia.  AASW CEO Cindy Smith said that as COVID-19 restrictions ease we are seeing older people returning to activities that are sadly leading the incidence of abuse to coming to light. “With older people beginning to return to GPs, community health services, aged care services and other supports, social workers are reporting that many more cases of elder abuse are now being picked up by these services across the country.” “Social workers are also reporting an increase in the severity of cases, particularly for older people who were in COVID lockdowns with abusive family members. A trend which is very concerning.”  Ms Smith said that awareness campaigns, such as Victoria’s Respect Older People: Call it out campaign, have also led to a greater recognition of the types and impacts that elder abuse can have on an older person. “The more people who know this, the better equipped we are as a society to end elder abuse. However, we also need more funding for frontline elder abuse services, and we need more aged care staff, whether they work in residential or in-home care, to be better trained to pick up on signs of elder abuse and to be able to respond effectively.” “As we have seen with the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety elder abuse is far too common, but now that a light has started to shine on its prevalence, we need to take the opportunity to ensure that no older Australian ever experiences abuse again,” she said. Elder abuse is any act which causes harm to an older person and is carried out by someone they know and trust such as a family member or friend. The abuse may be physical, social, financial, psychological or sexual and can include mistreatment and neglect.  To interview Cindy Smith, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. SOCIAL WORKER REGISTRATION IS ESSENTIAL IN AUSTRALIA 2021-06-09T05:13:51Z social-worker-registration-is-essential-in-australia-1 A recent ABC investigation of a sex offender who reportedly misrepresented his qualifications and suitability to work with young people, allegedly breaching the data of dozens of vulnerable young clients and using it to groom a victim, highlights the need for our systems and procedures to better protect the most vulnerable members in our society. Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Chief Executive Cindy Smith said the story on ‘The 7:30 Report’ (7 June) is an unfortunate example of system failures which have exposed young people to risk.  “This case underscores the importance of a thorough regulatory process that is rigorous and stringent to ensure that only appropriately qualified, registered and the most suitable people are employed for these crucial roles of trust.” Ms Smith said that as the professional body representing qualified social workers in Australia, it is important that the AASW continually emphasise the advantages of, and the need for a proper registration scheme, to both government and the general public. “Social workers work with people at their most vulnerable and the safety, health and wellbeing of the people we work with will always be the driving force behind the work of our members.” “Unfortunately, at the moment there are no mechanisms to prevent someone from calling themselves a social worker when they do not actually hold a social work qualification.” “Comparable countries such as the UK, USA, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada have long recognised the complexity of social work and have regulatory schemes for social workers. It is a genuine concern to our members, and should be to the broader public, that social work is not a registered profession and this is something that must change.” Ms Smith said a Bill is expected to be introduced into the South Australian Parliament later this year to develop specific legislation for the statutory registration of social workers. “When this legislation is introduced it will significantly improve the quality and safety of social services in the South Australian community by establishing processes to confirm the qualifications of social workers working with people in vulnerable situations. Hopefully it will have a ripple effect and be replicated in every state and territory in the near future,” she said.  To interview Cindy Smith, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. National Reconciliation Week - A time to move forward together 2021-05-26T07:09:53Z national-reconciliation-week-a-time-to-move-forward-together On National Sorry Day (26 May) and during National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June), the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is encouraging the community to come together to build a future based on mutual trust and respect, and an equal and full participation in society. AASW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Director, Professor Sue Green said National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week are two key moments in our year that, while they remind us of the wrongs of the past, are crucial in helping us move forward together. “Sorry Day is an opportunity for all of us to engage with the continuing story of the First Nations peoples of this country and their interactions with non-Indigenous people. It is not about making people feel guilty about events that are the legacies left to us all. Instead, it is an invitation to ensure that the historical wrongs do not continue to happen.” “Social workers experienced in working with people who are recovering from trauma know that full acceptance is a necessary ingredient of recovery. So, understanding the destructive impact of past policies and practices, and accepting that wrongs were committed, is the necessary first step towards a national healing.”  “On Sorry Day, during National Reconciliation Week and into the future we all need to acknowledge that an awareness of the issues is not the endpoint of the reconciliation process. Reconciliation is ’More than a word, Reconciliation takes action’.” Professor Green said that for the AASW, reconciliation is a positive, reciprocal relationship between First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous people based on trust and respect. “Reconciliation means that First Nations peoples are able to participate equally and fully in all areas of Australian social, political, community and economic life, and that they enjoy the same health, wellbeing and life outcomes of non-Indigenous people.” “Awareness is an important starting point but the ambition should be to move away from the safe behaviours we might have undertaken in the past. Instead, it is time to embrace ‘braver and more impactful action’ that will enhance the quality of life of everyone, and to create a society where everyone has the opportunity to flourish and reach their full potential.” “Brave action means challenging people’s ingrained preconceptions and assumptions, and supporting people, communities and organisations as they embrace change in their behaviours, their policies and procedures.” Professor Green said the AASW joins with Reconciliation Australia in its call to make sure actions have impact. “Social workers’ commitment to human rights and social justice means that they are constantly addressing the systemic and structural issues that lead to inequality and injustice.” “During National Reconciliation Week we call on the whole of community to join us, as we direct our action to ending the discrimination and racism that First Nations Australians still experience,” she said.     To interview Professor Green, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954 AASW – CELEBRATING AND SUPPORTING FAMILIES 2021-05-18T04:47:18Z aasw-celebrating-and-supporting-families-1 There should be no hardship in our “lucky country” yet an ever increasing number of families are doing it tough and with each week that passes more and more are being plunged into poverty. During National Families Week (15 - 21 May) the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is calling on all political parties to prioritise the eradication of poverty and inequality, two of biggest issues facing a growing number of Australian families. AASW National President Vittorio Cintio said the National Families Week theme of ‘Stronger Families, Stronger Communities’, is about highlighting the challenges facing families of all kinds and celebrating the special contribution they make to our community. “Social workers see the vital role that families play in creating resilient, healthy and nurturing communities. In light of the challenges COVID-19 in 2021, National Families Week is an opportunity to raise the awareness and to celebrate the protective and supportive capacity of families.” “The social work profession takes a ‘person in environment approach’ when working with family members to improve wellbeing, and on a daily basis we see the great diversity and strength of families in the face of major challenges.” “As a profession we also see the difficulties facing many families across Australia, particularly as supports put in place during COVID-19, such as increased Jobseeker payments are wound back and families are being severely impacted.” “Our members have told us of parents who sometimes go without meals to ensure that their children have enough to eat. We were incredibly disappointed to see that the recent Federal Budget contained no real increase in the rate of income support payments.” “As talk of an upcoming federal election begins, the AASW is calling on all sides of politics to address two of the biggest issues facing this nation - poverty and inequality, by committing to raising income support payments, so we no longer have Australian families living in hardship,” Mr Cintio said.   To interview Vittorio Cintio, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. AASW – STANDS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION OF THE LGBTIQ+ COMMUNITY 2021-05-14T00:28:44Z aasw-stands-against-discrimination-of-the-lgbtiq-community-1 On International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), the Australian Association of Social Workers celebrates and stands with the Australian and international LGBTIQ+ community in their fight against discrimination. AASW National President Vittorio Cintio said 17 May this year marks 31 years since the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. “On this day, for more than three decades, we have raised awareness about the violence, discrimination and oppression faced by same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse people.” “While we have come a long way since that defining moment in 1990 we still have a long way to go. As a community we must continue to champion inclusivity, safeguard human rights and together strive to guarantee a better world for the LGBTIQ+ community.” Mr Cintio said that social workers across Australia have supported state governments outlawing the harmful practice of LGBTIQ+ so-called ‘conversion therapy’ and commends Victoria for becoming the third Australian jurisdiction to do so in February this year. “So-called ‘conversion therapy’ and related practices attempt to change or suppress an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity using psychological, spiritual or physical interventions. The AASW members now call on other the other states and territories to introduce similar bans.” In 2018, a report by La Trobe University, the Human Rights Law Centre and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, highlighted that conversion therapy remains an issue across Australia’s religious communities. “Conversion practices are proven to be harmful and ineffective, with the report highlighting the immense grief and trauma experienced by those subjected to the practices. It is high time for governments to take a strong stand against discrimination and against policies and practices that send the damaging message to LGBTIQ+ people, particularly young people, that they are not ‘normal’ and need to change,” he said. Mr Cintio said that in the year that passed since IDAHOBIT 2020, COVID-19 has held a tight grip on daily lives of the Australian community, it has had a distinctive influence on the LGBTIQ+ community. “While LGBTIQ+ people have struggled with the issues of social isolation, job loss and threats to health alongside the broader community, social workers have been drawn to the unique impact of COVID-19 felt by the LGBTIQ+ community.” “A report by Equality Australia highlights the acute challenges faced by the LGBTIQ+ community during the pandemic. These include health disparities, which place LGBTIQ+ people at greater risk of detrimental health outcomes from contracting the virus; mental health disparities particularly evident in rates of depression and suicide; and historical and continuing experiences of discrimination, resulting in barriers to safe and inclusive support, services, information and healthcare.” “Every day, social workers work towards protecting human rights and safeguarding social justice and we urge the broader Australian community to unite against homophobia, biphobia, intersexism and transphobia. With so much of the past year characterised by distance, social connection is important now more than ever”, Mr Cintio said.   To interview Vittorio Cintio, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. AASW – ONCE IN A CENTURY BUDGET INVESTMENT MISDIRECTED 2021-05-12T05:35:31Z aasw-once-in-a-century-budget-investment-misdirected-1 Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) have welcomed the Federal Budget’s multi-billion dollar, once in a century investment across social services, but believes the Government’s approach and the enormous spending proposed will fail to hit the target and not fix the root causes of societal inequality. AASW National President Vittorio Cintio said the Federal Government’s planned investment (including $2.3 billion in mental health services) and the intention of the Budget is appreciated, but how it will be delivered and where it will be spent shows a lack of understanding of the source of inequality. “The Federal Government has once again allocated funds to a fragmented system that is based on a medicalised and individualised conception of mental health, but they have ignored the social determinants of health.” “Unfortunately, the enormous amounts of funding proposed in the Budget do little to overturn the underlying structural causes of inequality that contribute to ill-health, including mental ill-health.” “Health is a basic human right yet every day social workers see the damaging impact of poverty, disadvantage and abuse on the people we work with.” “We also see that no matter how many services there are, they are inaccessible to people whose basic needs of a stable income, housing and food that are necessary factors in contributing to health, just aren’t being met.” “The AASW Budget submission outlined a vision of an Australian community in which everyone, even the most vulnerable, are supported to thrive and flourish as active participants in the economic and social life of their community. “For example, there is still an urgent need to raise the level of JobSeeker. A strong social protection system is fundamental to people’s health and wellbeing, and Australia currently does not have one. There are still too many people who cannot afford three meals a day, let along the extra money required for mental health services.” “Last year showed us that the Government can do this, and more importantly, that it worked in temporarily lifting people out of destitution and that it boosted the economy.” “The Budget has also failed to deliver the Australian community a coherent set of policies to address the severe shortage of affordable permanent housing and a permanent extension of telehealth which at the moment is guaranteed only to the end of 2021,” he said. Mr Cintio said the AASW welcomed the Federal Government’s investment in the caring workforce in aged care and child care and the benefits that it will bring for families, women, children and older people. “We hope that the pandemic has taught us that women’s caring needs to be valued highly and paid fairly. We acknowledge funding for women’s services and are optimistically waiting for the implementation details to ensure they will make a tangible difference in the lives of marginalised people and women experiencing violence.” "As a key part of the mental health workforce, the AASW will be advocating for social workers, in particular, Accredited Mental Health Social Workers, to be included in the development and implementation of the initiatives and looks forward to working alongside the Government on their roll out,” he said. AASW - FEDERAL BUDGET MUST TAKE LONG TERM ACTION ON POVERTY AND INEQUALITY 2021-05-03T05:24:04Z aasw-federal-budget-must-take-long-term-action-on-poverty-and-inequality-1 The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) National President, Vittorio Cintio has called on the Federal Government to use the 2021/22 Budget to address poverty and inequality by taking long term action to create a society where it is possible for everyone to thrive and develop their full potential. Mr Cintio said the Federal Government talks about ‘giving everyone a go’ but social workers witness the detrimental and avoidable, long term impacts of current Federal Government welfare policies on a daily basis. “The Government’s welfare policies stigmatise those not in the paid workforce and provide support payments so low that they have actually become a barrier to employment. A situation that has only been made worse by the devastating and enormously disruptive impact of COVID 19 on the lives of the most disadvantaged in our community.” “While the pandemic has affected all members of society the impacts are far worse for people from marginalised groups, highlighting the extent of the inequality and the precarious financial circumstances that are faced by so many people across Australia” “The AASW commended the Federal Government for taking immediate action at the start of the pandemic by increasing Jobseeker and other payments but it was immediately clear that temporary increases fall short of the permanent and comprehensive policy response that was needed.” “The April 2021 cuts to Jobseeker and other payments have put millions of people at greater risk of poverty with Australia and now once again we have one of the lowest rates of unemployment payments in the OECD” Mr Cintio said that last year the Government demonstrated that it is clearly possible to take urgent action against poverty and it is deeply disappointing to see these much needed reforms being wound back, even though the impacts of the global pandemic are far from over. “The pandemic has highlighted the precarious nature of so many people’s employment and while we recognise the Government’s recent announcements in relation to reducing unemployment, we need to look at the much more pertinent issue of underemployment and how this disproportionately impacts women.” “While any reduction in the unemployment figure is an important step, it is also really critical to highlight that be ‘employed’ according to the ABS a person needs to have worked as little one hour per week.” “Addressing unemployment requires a more comprehensive approach that looks at the type and location of work available, the needs and skills of people and making sure we are addressing the significant structural, historical and systemic barriers to employment. This must be a centrepiece of the upcoming Federal Budget.” The AASW has published its 2021-2022 Pre budget Submission where we call on the government to adopt a holistic, proactive approach to all dimensions of health and well-being encompassing income support, housing, family violence, mental health, aged care, disability, climate action and Reconciliation. You can read the submission here https://www.aasw.asn.au/document/item/13459 To interview Vittorio Cintio, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. TASMANIAN ELECTION - AASW RENEWS CALLS FOR SOCIAL WORK REGISTRATION 2021-04-15T00:00:18Z tasmanian-election-aasw-renews-calls-for-social-work-registration-1 With the Tasmanian State Election approaching (Saturday 1 May) the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is calling for an incoming Tasmanian Government to commit to the formal registration of qualified social workers. Chief Executive Officer Cindy Smith said that governments have a responsibility to create environments that support children, young people and families to substantially reduce the various factors that increase the likelihood of abuse. “Child protection is incredibly complex work with some of the most vulnerable children and families in society. That is why greater focus needs to be given to how the workforce is recruited and regulated.” “For many years, the AASW has been calling formal registration of qualified social workers to protect some of the most vulnerable members of society and the upcoming election is the perfect opportunity for an incoming Tasmanian Government to join South Australia’s legislators in making this issue a priority.” “While many qualified social workers choose to be a member of their professional association, Australia is the only English speaking country which does not require social workers to be registered as a strategy for public protection. As things currently stand anyone can refer to themselves as a social worker with limited accountability, and this must change.” “For social workers to gain registration, they would need to have a recognized qualification, meet a high standard of ongoing professional development, and be accountable to a legal complaints and disciplinary process,” she said. Ms Smith said that families come into Child Safety Services in Tasmania due to a complex set of circumstances and it is vital that they receive support from highly trained and skilled professionals. “Unfortunately, numerous Coroner’s reports from all across Australia have highlighted that this is not the case and some of the most vulnerable children and families in society are being let down by the system.” “The statutory registration of social workers would be a significant public safety measure and reduce the risks to vulnerable people by assuring education, practice and professional development standards.” “AASW welcomes the great progress that is being made in South Australia in this regard, including the introduction of legislation to formally register all social workers. It is time for the incoming Tasmanian government to begin the process to introduce a similar scheme,” she said. To interview Cindy Smith, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. AASW – CALL FOR A RADICAL REFORM OF THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM 2021-04-07T06:32:45Z aasw-call-for-a-radical-reform-of-the-mental-health-system-1 The Australian Association of Social Workers’ submission to the House of Representatives Select Committee inquiry into Mental Health and Suicide Prevention has called for government to seize the opportunity to build a more cohesive system of mental health support that will radically reform Australia’s mental health system.  AASW CEO Cindy Smith said the AASW’s extensive submission draws on decades of experience of its members working with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in our society and this submission and its recommendations for improvements to the mental health system are consistent with previous submissions. “Social workers have been talking about the failings of the mental health system for decades and here we are in 2021, still beset by long waiting lists to access publicly funded services, inadequate rebate amounts under Better Access, and a shortage of mental health professionals across the country.” “Among our recommendations is that all sectors of the current service system be restructured into a person centred and community based system and that government provide incentives for mental health professionals to work outside of main city centres and increase the amount of mental health support available to people who live regionally, rurally or remotely.”  Ms Smith said one of the terms of reference for the Select Committee Inquiry is to report on the findings of numerous inquiries into mental health over the years, including the Productivity Commission and Victoria’s Royal Commission, among others. “We call on the Federal Government to combine all the recommendations from these Inquiries to inform the development of the sixth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Strategy.” “Through the development of the sixth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Strategy we have an opportunity to radically reform the mental health system and address the social determinants of mental health, including overturning mental health stigma and discrimination currently experienced by many people.”   “As we recover from the impacts of natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic we are provided with a unique opportunity for immediate investment and improvement to the system that better meet the mental health needs of Australians,” she said.  To interview Cindy Smith, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954.   AASW – CALL FOR FIVE YEAR FUNDING CERTAINTY TO AID RECOVERY 2021-04-01T03:47:02Z aasw-call-for-five-year-funding-certainty-to-aid-recovery The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) submission to the Senate Select Committee on Job Security is calling for governments at all levels to commit to a five year funding certainty for the precarious community services sector, as the nation recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and recent devastating natural disasters. AASW National President, Vittorio Cintio said that on a daily basis social workers see the distressing and harmful impact that job insecurity has on the people they work with, their families and the broader community, yet the nature of community sector funding means is that many social workers themselves do not have security in their own work. “The community services sector, and social workers in particular, have done so much of the heavy lifting in supporting Australians through recent crises, supporting women and children in situations of family violence, meeting the mental health needs of the community, and preventing some of our most vulnerable people from falling into homelessness.” “While social workers are reporting ever increasing demand for their services and are struggling to keep up with the pressure and stress, without the certainty of their own employment they are in a very precarious and unstable position themselves.” Mr Cintio said social workers are a predominantly female workforce, that is lower paid than other industries and the cumulative lifetime effects of this job insecurity can be devastating. “The tendency now is for newly created jobs to be contract and/or casual is having a detrimental impact on worker’s wellbeing and government needs to take a holistic approach to ensuring people have stable, secure and appropriately remunerated employment.” “Many social workers are employed on contracts tied to short term government funding, some for as short as one year. This hampers their ability to plan for their future and to effectively deliver services and improvements that workers in other industries take for granted.” “It also makes the retention of experienced and highly skilled staff in the community sector difficult, particularly in already under resourced regional and rural areas of Australia. And this job insecurity can impact the wellbeing of those we as a community rely on to support those in need.”  “All workers deserve security, stability and to be paid appropriately for their work. The community sector deserves this too and as a matter of urgency. We urge governments to implement five-year funding contracts as a priority in upcoming Budgets to deliver certainty to a struggling sector,” he said. To interview Vittorio Cintio, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. GRAVE CONCERNS OVER PASSAGE OF CHILD PROTECTION AND OTHER LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2020 (QLD) 2021-03-24T05:36:59Z grave-concerns-over-passage-of-child-protection-and-other-legislation-amendment-bill-2020-qld Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) Chief Executive Officer Cindy Smith and Queensland Branch President Yasmin Dunn have described the passage of the Child Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (QLD) as a missed opportunity to protect the best interest of vulnerable children and their families. The AASW made two submissions to the Inquiry of this Bill and is afraid that its concerns and those of other community organisations have been ignored and the legislation that passed the Queensland Parliament yesterday (23 March) may have an unintended consequence of expediting adoptions, instead of prioritising the best interest of children. CEO Cindy Smith said the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child, makes it very clear that ‘the child for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding’. “Governments have a responsibility in the first instance to concentrate efforts on creating such environments in which children and families are supported and assisted, so that the various factors that contribute to the need for child protection intervention by the state is substantially reduced.” “Adoption does not address the underlying cause of child protection intervention and what is needed is more resources for frontline support for vulnerable families, to prevent child protection issues arising at all.” Queensland Branch President Yasmin Dunn said access to appropriate supports, case planning and casework is the priority and what is needed, and adoption should only be considered as one of the possible responses after all other options for achieving the child’s safety are thoroughly explored. “By enshrining adoption as an option for vulnerable children in the Child Protection Act 1999 (QLD), the bill runs a high risk of streamlining and fast-tracking adoption. This will disproportionately impact Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children who are already over represented in the out of home care system.” “Before making further amendments to the Child Protection Act 1999 (QLD), we recommend the Queensland Government to undertake further consultation with Aboriginal community controlled organisations and experts and invest in early intervention programs, family support services and the child protection workforce,” she said. To interview Cindy Smith or Yasmin Dunn, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. CLOSE THE GAP NEEDS CULTURAL WELL BEING FOCUS 2021-03-17T05:49:13Z close-the-gap-needs-cultural-well-being-focus On national Close the Gap Day (18 March) the Australian Association of Social Workers is calling for significant investment to reach the targets set out in the Closing the Gap Refresh, and a greater emphasis on First Nations people’s right to culture and language.    AASW Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Board Director, Professor Sue Green, said the government has set a number of targets, including 16 new targets, with most having a ‘by’ date of 2031, but to make any of these achievable there needs to be a focus on cultural wellbeing, including all First Nations people having access to their language and culture.  “Australia currently views the Closing the Gap targets through a Western lens and uses colonial structures, for example the Western education system, to measure progress. This is not how First Nations people shape their worldview, and it is not the way to see real progress in eradicating the inequality experienced by First Nations people.” “The only way to Close the Gap is to stop seeing First Nations people as if they are the problem, or as if they are entrenched in the problem. We need to start ensuring that every man, woman and child, regardless of their age and location have access to their language and their culture, and that this is done in a culturally appropriate and safe manner.”  “Language and culture are paramount to First Nations people and they do not exist without each other. Language and culture strengthen peoples’ cultural identity and create the foundations for cultural wellbeing. This then sets the ground for all other forms of wellbeing and social inclusion.”  “This means that the learning of language and culture must have teaching adults, with elders and others as the starting point, so that they can teach young people and children.” “The teaching of language must be done culturally and not as an academic exercise and thus the teaching of language must remain in the hands of the peoples whose language it is. Only then will we see the lives of First Nations people improve across the country,” Professor Green said. Susan Green is a Galari woman of the Wiradjuri nation and the Association’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Director. Sue holds the role of Professor in Indigenous Australian Studies and GCWLCH Co-ordinator at Charles Sturt University. Sue has had an extensive history spanning 20 years in Indigenous Higher Education across a number of roles such as student support and teaching. Her research interest includes Welfare History, Indigenising Social Work education and practice, Cultural Responsiveness and Cultural Support, Colonial History and Decolonisation. Her foremost interest is ensuring that Wiradjuri Language and Culture underpins her all aspects of her personal and professional life. Susan is Chair of the Association’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group and a Member of the National Ethics Committee. To interview Professor Green, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954 AASW - WORLD SOCIAL WORK DAY 2021-03-15T00:34:24Z aasw-world-social-work-day World Social Work Day (16 March 2021) is the annual celebration where social workers across the globe stand together to highlight the contributions of their profession, raise the visibility of social services and reaffirm their commitment to defend social justice and human rights. Australian Association of Social Workers, Chief Executive Cindy Smith said for more than three decades World Social Work Day has been a major feature of the social work calendar. “This year highlights the theme of Ubuntu: I am Because We Are – Strengthening Social Solidarity and Global Connectedness, a concept and philosophy that resonates with the social work perspective of the interconnectedness of all peoples and their environments.” “At a time when global politics has become partisan, Ubuntu is a powerful message that our future is dependent on recognizing everyone’s involvement in co-building a sustainable, fair and socially just future,” she said. Ms Smith said the social work profession in Australia is very broad and diverse, and at times misunderstood, unseen and undervalued by government and some sections of the general public. “The principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities are central to social work, so it is important on a day such as World Social Work Day to highlight our role in facilitating social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people.” “While social workers play a crucial role working with individuals, families, groups and community health and wellbeing, they also are heavily involved in developing social policy, in management, leadership and administration, in education and training, and in research.” “Social workers often work across different areas of practice and might be known by different titles – case worker, family therapist, consultant, allied health clinician, child safety officer, or senior research assistant, counsellors or welfare officers and this can, at times, be confusing for the general public.” “Social workers are concerned with the biological, psychological, social and cultural wellbeing of individuals, families and communities, working in the context of their environments, their past and current lived experiences, and their cultural and belief systems.” “It is rewarding, gratifying, physically and mentally draining work that, at times, can go unnoticed by the wider population. So, it is important on an occasion like World Social Work Day, that we take the opportunity to celebrate and restate the vital role every social worker plays in assisting society’s most vulnerable people, and challenging and addressing the systemic and structural issues that create inequality, injustice and discrimination in our society and across the globe,” Ms Smith said. To interview Cindy Smith, please contact Noel McMahon on 0413 532 954. INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021-03-05T04:25:54Z international-women-s-day On International Women’s Day (8 March 2021) the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is highlighting the achievements of women leaders and calling for the advancement of women’s participation and decision making in public life. AASW Chief Executive Cindy Smith said this year’s International Women’s Day theme is celebrating the role of women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. “COVID-19 has had a significant impact on women, those standing at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers providing support for family violence and mental health and a range of other issues, to caregivers, innovators, community organizers and as some of the most effective national leaders in combating the pandemic.” “The crisis has highlighted both the centrality of their contributions and the disproportionate burdens that women carry. As the vaccinations roll out across Australia and life begins the journey of returning towards a more normal routine, we have an opportunity to not only elevate the role of women but also achieve some meaningful change.” “Representing a predominantly female workforce, the AASW takes the opportunity on International Women’s Day to celebrate and acknowledge the significant work and impact social workers have made during the pandemic.” “Without the contribution of social workers Australia would not be in the recovery position we are in today. The nature of their work makes all social workers leaders in supporting those who often get left behind,” she said. Ms Smith said that we also take this occasion to call on governments at all levels to ensure proper funding for all the services required as we move into the vaccination and recovery stage of the pandemic in Australia. “The need for family violence, mental health, homelessness and other services is always there, more so in times of crisis. As life returns to normal the social work sector will need certainty and proper funding to assist those impacted by COVID-19,” she said. International Women’s Day was first marked by the United Nations in 1977. The Day was born out of labour movements as women moved into the labour force in the early 1900s. In the 21st century IWD marks the achievements of women across many domains and is also a rallying point to continue to build on women’s rights throughout the world. AASW HONOURS THE NATIONAL APOLOGY ANNIVERSARY 2021-02-11T23:34:10Z aasw-honours-the-national-apology-anniversary-1 The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) honours the 13th anniversary of the National Apology. This Day is one for reflection and a commitment to action, when the social work profession can reflect on the harm it has caused Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people but also look to the future and renew its commitment to Reconciliation, to ensure that the wrongs committed are never repeated. AASW National Vice President, Linda Ford said the National Apology acknowledged the hurts and injustices of the past, now we need to continue moving forward and embrace the opportunities that have arisen since the National Apology, that can bring us together as a country. “The anniversary of the National Apology provides the social work profession with a powerful reminder of the continuing impact of history on our profession and the communities our profession serves. We take this opportunity to acknowledge the strength and resilience of our Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander colleagues, community members and clients. May we move forward together in a spirit of solidarity for a more united Australia.” “The AASW in its commitment to Reconciliation, has continued to take meaningful action by launching its 2020-2022 Reconciliation Action Plan in mid-2020.  This is the Association’s third RAP ensuring that the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members are represented in our decision making, our activities and our future directions.” “With this plan and alongside our Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander colleagues, we will strive to be the best possible allies, by actively listening, by decolonising the way we work, by working in partnership and by making sure Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander colleagues and members of our communities shape our work.” “We also know that to look forward and build authentic partnerships requires truth-telling and real understanding. Acknowledging the black history of our country, the historical role of Social Work and the current status of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples in our community is essential in building partnerships that are grounded in truth,” she said.