Skip to main content

To: Minister for Education, Dan Tehan

Stop the Fee Hikes on Social and Community Services Degrees!

The Federal Government announced that ALL associated degrees for Social and community services workers are now protected by the Professional Pathway and will be exempt from government fee increases.

Earlier this year the Federal government proposed DOUBLING university fees for community services degrees (e.g. Social Work, Human Services, Mental Health, Social Sciences, Youth Work, Community Welfare, Social Welfare, and Counselling).

ASU members and supporters fought hard and led the campaign to stop these fee hikes which would have created further workforce shortages that already exist in this critical sector as well as creating barriers for both entry and career advancement which would disproportionately impact women who work in this sector.

In a HUGE WIN the Federal Government listened to your voices and backed down on the proposed fee hikes for Social Work, committing to creating instead the Professional Pathway to Social work.

But we didn’t stop there. We kept fighting to keep the government to account to ensure all relevant degrees would be exempt from these crippling fee increases.

Today the Federal government announced that they would include all relevant social and community services degrees as a part of the Professional Pathway.

This means people who support our communities across the sector will not be forced to pay more for their degrees or spend longer paying them off.

This is a fantastic win– this would not have happened without you coming together and campaigning for this change.

If you work in social and community services and aren’t yet a union member – now is the time to join! Go to: to join the union for SACS workers who are by your side, throughout your working life.

Congratulations to all ASU members and supporters for campaigning on this issue and winning!

We are calling on the Federal Government to abandon its plan to increase the costs of Social Work and related degrees like Social Science, Social Welfare, Human Services, Community Welfare, Behavioural Science, Psychology and Counselling by 113%.

Instead, these degrees should have fee reductions to recognise the need to significantly grow the workforce to meet the community’s future needs.

If the Government proceeds with these fee hikes, there will be devastating consequences to social and community services in Australia:
• There will not be enough skilled and professional social and community services workers to deliver essential support services to the community.
• The predominantly female and low-paid workforce will be saddled with even higher debt from their education that they may never be able to pay off during their working lives.

Why is this important?

The Social and Community Services sector is growing and will be vital to supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our community in the COVID recovery and as we enter a recession. The sector relies on a pipeline of Social Work and related degree graduates to fill critical roles in its workforce. The workforce is predominantly a female workforce and low-paid.

Already, there are workforce shortages in this essential sector. The Government’s proposed fee increases in Social Work and related fields will only further exacerbate these workforce shortages – in both recruitment and retention – that exist in this critical sector. It will disproportionately impact women who work in this sector, creating barriers for both entry and career advancement.

The Government’s proposed fee increases for these degrees also overlooks recent State and Commonwealth Government initiatives or inquiries that have set or recommended minimum degree standards for employment in the social assistance sector.



2020-12-15 09:16:29 +1100

Petition is successful with 1,862 signatures

2020-07-08 16:26:11 +1000

1,000 signatures reached

2020-07-04 07:05:35 +1000

500 signatures reached

2020-07-02 09:18:15 +1000

100 signatures reached

2020-07-02 08:54:00 +1000

50 signatures reached

2020-07-02 08:22:00 +1000

25 signatures reached

2020-07-01 17:18:46 +1000

10 signatures reached