PACFA Submission to Treasury on Self-Education Expenses

PACFA has made a submission to Treasury opposing plans to cap deductions for self-education expenses at $2000.

The submission explains the annual PD requirements for registered counsellors and psychotherapists to maintain their registration. While no particular professional development activities are mandatory in order to renew registration, it is mandatory to undertake a certain number of hours of professional development each year. The amount required by PACFA is 15 hours per annum. However many practitioners undertake more professional development hours than this in order to maintain their skills and competence as counsellors or psychotherapists.

Practitioners incur considerable costs in order to meet the required 15 hours of professional development for registration purposes. It is also important that counsellors and psychotherapists are able to access further specialist training in order to continue to develop their skills, given that they are supporting vulnerable clients with their mental health.

The cap on self-education expenses will discourage practitioners from undertaking specialist training and post-graduate study and this will have a significant impact on the profession and the clients we serve. It is important that we have a highly skilled and trained mental health workforce to be able to meet the needs of the community for high quality counselling and psychotherapy services.

Practitioners living away from the main metropolitan areas are at a particular disadvantage because of the travel expenses they incur to attend professional development activities, which generally take place in the metropolitan centres.

In this submission PACFA makes recommendations for some alternative approaches to the selfeducation
cap such as excluding the following from the capped amount:

  • Professional development that is mandatory for registration purposes; and
  • Travel expenses to professional development for practitioners living outside the major metropolitan areas.

Importantly, PACFA’s submission highlights the distinction between self-education and clinical supervision. Clinical supervision is not self-education expense but is an integral part of the process of delivering counselling or psychotherapy services; it is essential to ensure client safety. Clinical supervision should therefore never be treated as a self-education expense.

Click here to download the submission PDF