Mission Australia

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Mission Australia Centre, Surry Hills, Sydney

Mission Australia is a non-denominational Christian community service organisation providing family, community, employment, housing and early learning services throughout Australia. It is part of an international network of City Missions. The organisation employs over 3800 staff, and 2,000 volunteers.[citation needed] It provides 570 services in every state and territory of Australia. Mission Australia is one of the largest community organisations in the nation.[citation needed] From 1997-2006, Patrick McClure AO was CEO. From 2006 it was headed by CEO Toby Hall. From March 2014 Mission Australia's first female CEO will take the leadership, former COO Catherine Yeomans.

History[edit]

The precursors to Mission Australia, the City Missions (founded by Benjamin Short), were inspired by the London City Mission established by David Nasmith. The Sydney City Mission was established in 1862,[1] the Colporteur Society[2] - later known as the Town and Country Mission - and then as the Brisbane City Mission established in 1869,[3][4] and Adelaide City Mission - later known as Mission SA in 1867.[5]

Mission Australia formed in 2000 as the result of an amalgamation of a number bodies,[citation needed] these were:

  • Brisbane City Mission
  • Sydney City Mission
  • Hunter Mission
  • Mission Australia Southern NSW
  • Mission Australia Group Training and Mission Employment
  • Mission SA
  • Perth City Mission
  • Wollongong City Mission
Ben Short

Research and advocacy on social policy[edit]

Mission Australia seeks to influence government policy on social issues through research and advocacy.

Patrick McClure, whilst Chief Executive Officer of Mission Australia chaired the Australian Government’s Reference Group on Welfare Reform (1999–2000) during the second term of the Howard government. This group produced a blueprint for welfare reform "Participation Support for a More Equitable Society" (2000).[6][7]

This research and advocacy is also seen in the series of reports on people experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation in Australia.[8]

In the lead up to the 2013 Federal election, Toby Hall, Chief Executive Officer of Mission Australia spoke on the need to reform welfare.[9]

Employment agency and job support[edit]

Mission Employment, the employment services arm, has been a beneficiary of the Australian Government's privatisation of employment services since 1998. It is a major provider of Job Services Australia with roughly 140 sites throughout Australia. In December 1999, in the second round of contracts, it anticipated and became a significant provider of the then Job Network services, '(it) become the second-largest job agency in Australia behind the Salvation Army', as well as in 2000 providing 17.5 per cent of the Work for the Dole program.[10]

Community Services[edit]

Mission Australia delivers services throughout Australia. These services provide help and support for Australians who are dealing with an issue or problem that makes it difficult or challenging for them to participate normally in society. The type of services Mission Australia provide include services for families and children, early learning and childcare, support to prevent and overcome homelessness, education and skill based training.

Mission Australia's primary focus is in the delivery of services to prevent problems before the start and also to ensure the most sustained possible outcomes to help people become self-sufficient and no longer reliant on service support. As a body dependent on government funding and corporate and public donations it has been affected by decisions increasing wages of community sector staff.[11][12]

Reconciliation Action Plan[edit]

The goal is to identify and get to know the Traditional Owners, Elders and leaders in the communities wherever Mission Australia has a presence. This will include their urban as well as rural centres. They will particularly seek out Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations whose involvements coincide with their interests in community services, employment, training, early learning and housing. They will aim to identify and establish regular contact with the relevant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak bodies around Australia. These include health, justice, community development and educational bodies. The goal of this is to eradicate all racial prejudice and any gaps in the standard of living within Australia between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.[citation needed]

Families and Children[edit]

Mission Australia supports disadvantaged families through a variety of programmes including prevention and early intervention, counselling, case management, and residential programs, they also run early learning centres and unlike the other services it runs they are not designed specifically for use by low income or disadvantaged families, although many of these centres are located in socially or economically disadvantaged areas.

Homelessness[edit]

Mission Australia delivers over 100 services focused on the prevention or intervention of Australians who are at risk or currently experiencing homelessness. These services provide opportunities to stop vulnerable Australians from becoming homeless through the provision of intensive support. Mission Australia also has dedicated specialist services providing short to long term supported accommodation for Australians who are homeless. These Include;

  • Mission Australia Centre Kingswood (NSW – Western Sydney)
  • Mission Australia Centre - Surry Hills, Sydney
  • Mission Australia Centre – Chigwell House Tasmania
  • Annie Green Court – Sydney CBD
  • Missionbeat – Sydney CBD
  • Roma House – Brisbane

Life and work ready skills[edit]

Mission Australia aims to stop the homelessness cycle by intervening early and providing people with the skills to integrate into the work force.[citation needed]

Registered Training Organisation[edit]

Mission Australia is Registered training organisation (RTO).[13] It provides training, from basic skills and prevocational to. The RTO provides vocational courses at Certificate I-IV, diploma, and advanced diploma levels, in specialisations such as:

  • Aged care
  • Automotive
  • Business
  • Children’s services
  • Construction
  • Horticulture
  • Hospitality
  • Retail
  • Youth work
  • English language and adult literacy.

Youth Services[edit]

Mission Australia runs a range of services aimed at providing support to youth experiencing issues with drug and alcohol abuse, family breakdown, unemployment, homelessness and mental illness. These services encourage young people struggling with these issues to reach their goals as well as developing solutions, skills and competencies to achieve success.

These include;

  • Triple Care Farm (a retreat for adolescents experiencing drug or behaviour related issues)
  • Creative Youth Initiative (A service that allows youths with mental health, substance abuse or trouble finding stable accommodation to create art and music)
  • U-Turn (a 10 week course in auto maintenance for teens that are at risk of, or have become involved in, vehicle theft)

MA Housing[edit]

Mission Australia housing is a housing rental solution designed to be affordable to low and moderate income Australian families, it also aims to create a positive community within these housing blocks. They operate under two separate housing companies, due to different state regulatory environments. MA Housing (Victoria) Ltd operates only in Victoria and MA Housing Ltd operates in Tasmania and New South Wales.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sydney City Mission". The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) (NSW: National Library of Australia). 12 July 1862. p. 7. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  2. ^ otherwise known as a tract society - see Colportage
  3. ^ "Town and Country Mission". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 9 November 1877. p. 3. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Brisbane City Mission". The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933) (Qld.: National Library of Australia). 22 July 1899. p. 3. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Adelaide City Mission". South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 26 July 1867. p. 3. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  6. ^ Participation Support for a More Equitable Society
  7. ^ Willacy, Mark (16 August 2000). "McClure speaks about welfare reform blueprint". World Today, Radio National. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  8. ^ Mission Australia: Document downloads Social Policy
  9. ^ Metherell, Lexi (8 April 2013). "Charity calls for welfare re-think". AM, Radio National. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  10. ^ Tingle, Laura (5 February 2000). "Church and State: making a job of it". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. p. 13. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  11. ^ Schneiders, Ben (21 February 2011). "Mission Australia kept funds from staff". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. p. 3. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Schneiders, Ben (16 August 2011). "Pay deal threat to jobs: charity". Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "2354 - Mission Australia". Training. Australia: Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 

External links[edit]