LETTER TO SENATORS
RE: PROTECT TERTIARY FUNDING FOR SOCIAL WORK IN AUSTRALIA
We write to you on behalf of 7,000 Australians who are concerned about the security of social work education in this country.
Every day, social workers help Australians in crisis navigate the most difficult times in their lives. Social workers provide critical support for victims of family violence, the homeless and recently helped those affected by the Black Summer bushfires and residents of the towers locked down due to COVID-19.
Social workers are integral to Australia’s allied health network which connects vulnerable people with the support and healthcare services they need. Yet social work degrees have been historically misclassified within higher education as a non-health discipline.
The Government’s proposed amendments to the 'job-ready graduates' legislation is a positive step, but it doesn’t secure the future of social work in Australia. We need a guarantee that funding for social work education will remain in line with other allied health professions going forward.
We note that the Senate Committee’s report on the recent inquiry made reference to Professional Pathways, however the implications of this classification remains unclear which gives rise to our concern for the future of social work.
Specifically, we request that:
an amendment is made to the legislation such that social work is classified as allied health and funded at the same rate; and
if the Government will not classify social work as allied health it confirms that the “Professional Pathway Social Work” funding will apply to all compulsory subjects within social work degrees.
Should the requests not be included in the Government’s proposed legislation, the future of social work will remain in jeopardy as there will be no guarantee that social work will continue to receive the funding it needs as an allied health profession. Moreover, any unit within a social work degree that incurs a higher student contribution amount than the “Professional Pathway Social Work” level will act as a disincentive for students to choose social work as career path. At a time when there is a very real and immediate need for social workers in Australia, the Government should be making it easier to choose a career in social work.
Social workers are Australia’s safety net.
We ask that you give this request your every consideration.
Save Social Work Australia
The Save Social Work Australia Campaign was formed in response to the Higher Education Reform Package and calls on the Government to recognise the importance of social work and secure a strong future for social workers in Australia. We have a petition to Education Minister Dan Tehan with around 7,000 signatures.