Annual report 2023
Our Founding Purpose is at the core of everything we do here at Mission Australia, and for over 160 years, we remain committed to our purpose and goal to end homelessness and see lives transformed.
“Inspired by Jesus Christ, Mission Australia exists to meet human need and to spread the knowledge of the love of God.”
Over the past year, the skyrocketing cost-of-living and rental affordability challenges have created a national housing emergency. Our frontline staff have seen an influx of people seeking help from our homelessness services, and they’re telling us the housing situation is the worst they’ve ever seen it.
In the face of growing demand, we have also witnessed our community of supporters, staff, partners, funders and volunteers coming together to help people in need. We are grateful for their compassion and generosity. Together, we have made significant progress in the past year and some of the achievements below would simply not have been possible without their support.
We are three years into our 20-25 Strategy and are pleased to have made strong progress during the past reporting period, with additional new services, activities and staff.
Helping people and communities thrive is at the heart of our organisation, and this year we are particularly keen to share that we:
- Proudly launched our second Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) at the beginning of 2022. We are on track to achieving all 85 deliverables by June 2024, with most in progress and some already delivered. As part of this RAP, we:
- Celebrated National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week across the organisation
- Established a RAP Knowledge Group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to provide a forum for culturally appropriate advice
- Facilitated a co-design process to develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Safety Framework for the period 2024-29.
- Supported the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the Voice to Parliament internally and externally, and
- Developed new and strengthened existing partnerships with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.
- Opened two new residential Alcohol and Other Drugs services, funded by the Australian Government: one in Batemans Bay, the other in Cairns.
- Started construction of our first Youth Foyer in Townsville, funded by the Queensland Government, with completion expected in early 2024.
- Established two new Communities of Focus in Western Australia: one in Meekatharra, the other in Maddington.
- Continued projects as part of our Housing Growth Strategy to see more Australians in safe and stable homes by 2025, including:
- The near completion of stage one of the Midtown Macquarie Park project, bringing close to 400 new social and affordable dwellings to the northern Sydney region.
- As part of the Tasmanian Government’s Community Housing Growth Program, construction commenced on 31 new social housing dwellings of which 29 were completed and consolidated within Mission Australia Housing Tasmania’s portfolio. Work continues to build more social dwellings in Tasmania in FY24.
- Continued bold advocacy for additional housing and homelessness support as more Australians suffered from the cost-of-living crisis and the homelessness emergency.
- Released our first Homelessness Impact Report to strengthen our evidence-based advocacy for greater investment in homelessness prevention, support services, and more social and affordable housing.
- Expanded our Community Chaplaincy program into Hobart, Cairns South, Coffs Harbour and Maddington.
And many more key initiatives which can be read in the Strategy update section of this report.
Changes to our Board
After six years as Mission Australia’s Chair, Ken Dean retired from the Board on 21 November 2022. We are immensely grateful to Ken for his strong leadership and stewardship over the years.
As a long-serving member of Mission Australia’s Board, and now the Chair, I am excited to be working alongside Sharon as CEO. In our key leadership roles, we are grateful to be working alongside my fellow directors and the management team to shape a future without homelessness.
For the first time, Mission Australia now has First Nations Board representation with the appointment of Balanggarra woman, Elle Davidson in late 2022. Elle is also a member of one of our Board committees.
Her appointment also marks the first time our organisation has had majority female Board representation.
We thank our Board members for their voluntary service. We also thank our supporters, partners, other stakeholders and funders. Together, we are striving towards an Australia where all of us have a safe home and can thrive. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of so many Australians in need. Our work wouldn’t be possible without you.
We hope you enjoy our 2023 Annual Report.
Together, we supported 149, 096 Australians on their journey towards independence last year.
26,240 people assisted
through 73 services
6,688 people assisted
through 15 services
230 people assisted
through 3 services
Alcohol & other drugs
6,021 people assisted
through 35 services
Children & families
21,709 people assisted
through 60 services
20,553 people assisted
through 25 services
Employment, education & training
19,402 people assisted
through 152 services
Family & domestic violence
1,681 people assisted
through 15 services
6,381 people assisted
through 14 services
Mental health recovery
3,640 people assisted
through 30 services
Justice & corrections
1,146 people assisted
through 16 services
35,054 people assisted
through 18 services
An Australia where all of us can have a safe home and thrive
In 2020, we launched Mission Australia’s 20-25 Strategy with a vision for an Australia where all of us have a safe home and can thrive. In the past year, we are proud of our progress in our four strategic focus areas. From the opening of two new Alcohol and Other Drugs facilities to our continued commitment to create strong, resilient and thriving communities, read more about our progress in FY23.
Our work in action
When Ben showed up at the Mission Australia Centre years ago, he was determined to turn his life around. Ben was welcomed by staff and connected to a dedicated case worker who supported Ben with accommodation, rehabilitation and connections to essential services to overcome his addiction and improve his mental health.
Supporting people in need to thrive
Mission Australia’s Triple Care Farm combines medical care, counselling, education and recreation to help young people conquer drug and alcohol addiction. For young people like Emily, who face challenges to their mental wellbeing, Triple Care Farm provides an essential support network they need to overcome addiction and step towards independence.
Partnering to strengthen communities
Throughout the year, our team in Meekathara, WA, facilitate a place-based, community-led approach including coordinating capacity building activities and social cohesion events. Our Communities of Focus approach recognises that addressing local disadvantage starts with bringing people together through local decision making. From BBQs, sports activities to Family Fun Days, Mission Australia works with local Elders, community leaders and members, services, government agencies and businesses to increase community participation and control.
Thank you for making our work possible this year
Our award-winning Impact Measurement Program helps us understand how our services improve the lives of our clients and the communities we serve. We measure our impact by asking the people we help questions about their wellbeing when they start a service and when they exit.
Funded by Federal and State Governments, our 73 homelessness services provide support to people who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Our data shows that homelessness can be ended if the right support, services and housing are in place, and if there is a strong focus on prevention. Of the people who approached Mission Australia’s services before they became homeless, 93% were supported to remain living in their home and avoid homelessness. However, our and all other organisations’ efforts to find long-term housing for people once they become homeless are severely constrained by the lack of affordable housing available across the country.
93% of people who were at risk of homelessness remained living in their homes when they exited a Mission Australia service*.
76% of people had improved overall personal wellbeing when they exited our service*.
*All closed cases who at service entry were at risk of homelessness and who exited between July 2022 and June 2023 (n=2352). Matched data collected from July 2022 to June 2023 (n=525)
1Deakin University and Australian Unity Limited. (2021). Australian Unity Wellbeing Index - Appendices 38. Subjective wellbeing in Australia during the second year of the pandemic. Geelong: Australian Centre on Quality of Life, School of Psychology, Deakin University
Policy & advocacy
This year, Mission Australia continued our research, policy and advocacy work to support people in need to thrive. We boldly advocated to the Federal and State/Territory Governments on issues of importance to the people we serve in Mission Australia’s programs and to people in need across the country.
We provided submissions to the Federal Government on a range of issues, including:
- Inquiries into poverty and the cost-of-living
- Workforce Australia Employment Services Inquiry and Employment White Paper consultations
- Federal pre-budget consultations
We continue to advocate strongly for further investment in social and affordable housing, actions to end homelessness, adequate income support and other policy priorities to support people in need to thrive.
We thank our 1,092 selfless volunteers, who over the last financial year generously contributed over 27,000 hours in support of our staff and the people we serve.
GAICD, MBA, BHA, RN
Chief Executive Officer
BEc, LLB, GAICD
General Counsel & Company Secretary
Executive, Finance and Technology
BA, MA, GAICD
Executive, Community Services
MBA, LLB, GAICD
Executive, Housing and Property
BA (Hons), GAICD
Executive, Practice, Evidence and Impact
BSc, Grad Dipl Bus Ops Mgmt
Executive, Chaplaincy & Pastoral Care
BTch, BSSc (Hons)
Executive, Corporate Services
Executive, Strategy and Engagement
BA (Hons), FCPA, FCA, FAICD
President And Chair
Dr Robert Mitchell AM
LLB, MPhil, GradDipTax, GradDipTheol, MThSt, GradCertMin, PhD, FAICD
BSc (Hons), FCA
Nancy Fox AM
BA, JD Law, FAICD
BTRP GradCert Indigenous Engagement GAICD MPIA
BCom MBA GAICD
BA MBA (Advanced) MAICD AIST
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