Australia's speech-language pathology profession and its global impact

Sharynne McLeod, Nicole McGill, Stacey Baldac, Gail Mulcair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this article is to describe the speech-language pathology profession in Australia and its global impact.
Conclusions: Australia is known for its international collaboration in research, advocacy, leadership in practice (clinical) education and training of the workforce, innovations in technology for service delivery, and global partnerships. In Australia, speech-language pathologists are known as speech pathologists who have expertise in providing assessment and intervention to optimize communication and swallowing for people across the life span. Speech Pathology Australia (SPA) is the peak professional body in Australia and was founded in 1949. Speech pathology is a self-regulating profession, and SPA is recognized by the Australian government as the body that sets and maintains the standards for the profession. Members can hold Certified Practising Speech Pathologist (CPSP) status if they meet annual recency of practice and continuing professional development requirements. Not all speech pathologists are members of SPA. SPA has approximately 14,000 members; half are employed in private practices where services may be funded by government-funded schemes, private health insurance, or self-funded by service users. Most SPA members are female and the majority only speak English, with Cantonese being the most common other language spoken. The Professional Standards for Speech Pathologists in Australia outlines the knowledge, skills, and attributes for entry-level and practicing speech pathologists. SPA hosts an annual national conference and produces two journals: International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology. SPA have committed to cultural responsiveness and privileging the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Communities, the First Peoples of Australia. SPA aspires to the provision of culturally safe speech pathology services for all people and supports the development of speech-language pathology in the Asia-Pacific region including Vietnam and Cambodia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-798
Number of pages6
JournalPerspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 07 Aug 2023


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