On Friday, February 24, 2023, Mission Australia hosted the official opening of Walawaani, a new youth residential rehabilitation facility in Batemans Bay on the South Coast of NSW.

The opening ceremony was attended by Mission Australia’s CEO Sharon Callister, as well as Mission Australia's Patron, the Governor-General of Australia, His Excellency General David Hurley, Chair Ian Hammond and Mission Australia staff and community members.

Walawaani is a 10-bed residential rehabilitation program that provides a 12-week holistic program incorporating an individual support plan, residential living skills, individual and group counselling, education, and sports and recreation programs.

Walawaani is modelled on the success of Mission Australia’s first youth residential rehabilitation program, the 30-year-old Triple Care Farm in NSW’s Southern Highlands.

Triple Care Farm offers young people withdrawal, rehabilitation and aftercare programs and has helped thousands of graduates take control of their lives and their futures through the years.

The funding for Mission Australia’s purchase of the Walawaani facility and service funding was provided by the Commonwealth Department of Health.

Walawaani’s first residents arrived in early February 2023.

Walawaani is a Dhurga word, the first language of the NSW far south coast between Wandandean, Braidwood, and Wallaga Lake. It is a greeting that means “we hope you had a safe journey here" or “we hope you have a safe journey home.”

Thanks to Mission Australia's partnership with the Sir David Martin Foundation, everyone completing the program will be offered six months of aftercare support as they transition back into the community.

This aftercare support is an evidence-based model of care that involves a Mission Australia Aftercare Worker keeping in touch with the young person while offering practical advice and mentoring.

This gives young people the best chance to maintain the positive changes they have made and avoid the cycle of addiction.

Mission Australia’s CEO Sharon Callister said:

"Young people must have a safe place to recover from drugs and alcohol when they are ready to receive support.

“We know that young people have the capacity to make sustained, positive changes in their lives when they’re given access to supports they need, when they need them.

"We are proud that Walawaani will offer high levels of care for young people needing rehabilitation support.

"Unfortunately, there is a critical shortage of residential rehabilitation facilities geared toward young people in Australia, which is why we are opening Walawaani today

"When a young person experiencing illicit drug or alcohol abuse is motivated to seek change, appropriate rehabilitation facilities like Walawaani must be available.

"This new facility spread over 17 acres of natural bushland will allow young adults to be nurtured through rehabilitation and mentored through a return to their families or into housing and employment or study.

"There is a growing demand for such services, and we hope these service models can be expanded to other locations, including in rural, remote, and regional areas.

“This wonderful new facility will provide the young people with the support they need, when and where they need it,” said Ms Callister.


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