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Thursday, 3 May 1973
Page: 1682

Dr JENKINS (Scullin) - I wish to round off my remarks which I commenced in this cognate debate last night. I was speaking of the need for social workers to be used in broader aspects than we have been accustomed to and I had commented on their role in a society of increasing urbanisation. I made mention of the International Conference on social work in 1966 which had this topic as its theme. One of its concepts was that specially equipped social workers should be members of town planning teams. I should like to quote from an address to the Victorian Branch of the Australian Association of Social Workers which was given in regard to this conference. The address stated:

One of the speakers (Whitney Young) called for 'an excess of caring and decency'. He suggested that social workers as a 'prime civilising force, must compel world society to recognise that people die inwardly from being nameless and faceless, from not having roots in the community - from having to react endlessly to a thousand small uncaring ways'.

Therefore in the development of communities a great deal of attention must be given to ensuring that people are not nameless and faceless. One hopes in view of the rapid response that the Minister for Education has made in supplying finance for the training of social workers that the money will be used to produce social workers capable of dealing with this type of situation. It seems that at present social workers are considered to be those who deal with social evils or ills that arise as the end product of circumstances in society. This should not be their role. Their role should be more in the area of preventing things going wrong and even, as 1 have mentioned, in assisting with the planning of social services to prevent happenings among the ordinary people in the community.

This is a continuation of some of the remarks which I made last night. I commend the Minister for his early recognition of the need. I believe that the Government, which has put forward a number of propositions that will require an increased use of social workers, has done the right thing. In this respect I trust that assistance, which on this occasion goes to the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne and to the Tasmanian Advanced College of Education, will in the near future be extended to other institutions which can serve a useful purpose in training social workers.

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