MEDIA STATEMENT: AHPA response to Cost-of-living support for teaching, nursing and social work students

Published 6 May 2024

AHPA welcomes this morning’s announcement from the Albanese Government about the establishment of a new Commonwealth payment for an estimated 68,000 students studying nursing, teaching and social work.

Student teachers, nurses, midwives and social workers will receive a $320 weekly payment during their mandatory placements under a new cost-of-living measure in the May budget.

AHPA Chief Executive Officer Bronwyn Morris-Donovan said the announcement is a step in the right direction but there is still more to be done.

“We celebrate this budget measure for our member organisation the Australian Association of Social Workers and congratulate CEO Cindy Smith for negotiating this outcome.

“However ‘placement poverty’ is real for many students of other allied health disciplines where mandatory placements are just as extensive, if not more.”

The Commonwealth Government has acknowledged the shortfall of allied health professionals in Australia and is currently developing a National Allied Health Workforce Strategy to future proof the supply of allied health professionals.

In the 2023 Skills Priority List, there was a shortage in every jurisdiction for the following allied health professions:

  • Audiologist
  • Occupational Therapist
  • Optometrist
  • Orthotist/Prosthetist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Podiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Speech therapist
  • Social Worker
  • Sonographer

“AHPA calls for an expansion of this ‘placement payment’ to ensure the supply of qualified allied health professionals matches demand for services and incentivises the next generation of allied health professionals,” Morris-Donovan said.