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Mission Australia announces Reconciliation Action Plan

Mission Australia has become the first major Australian welfare organisation to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) – a strategy for how it intends to contribute to reducing the gap in living standards between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians based on respect and partnership.

Mission Australia’s RAP was developed over many months of consultation with bothIndigenous and non-Indigenous staff, Indigenous groups and with significant input from Reconciliation Australia.

MA’s Reconciliation Action Plan involves:

– Establishing regular and ongoing contact with relevant Indigenous peak bodies at state/territory and national levels and forging links with traditional owners at every location around the country where it provides a service.

– All staff undertaking Indigenous cultural appreciation training as part of their induction.

– In services specific to Indigenous people – or with a high number of Indigenous clients – staff will receive specific and locally relevant cultural training.

– All Mission Australia services participating in at least two events of Indigenous culture or celebration each year.

– Mission Australia will increase its Indigenous employees by 50 in three years.

– Service managers will report each year on progress including: consultation with local Indigenous groups, initiatives to improve service-accessibility to Indigenous people; and targets for Indigenous trainees and employees.

Mission Australia’s CEO, Toby Hall, said the RAP was a crucial part of the organisation’s contribution to ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“Mission Australia developed a statement of principles for working with Indigenous Australians in 2007, but we needed a concrete way of giving life to the document and putting our principles into practice,” said Mr Hall.

“We felt very strongly that we couldn’t just talk about reconciliation and closing the gap – we had to do something substantial that built on our already significant work in Indigenous communities.”

Reconciliation Australia’s chief executive Paul O’Callaghan congratulated Mission Australia on being the first major Australian welfare group to develop a RAP.

“Mission Australia has approached the task as core business,” said Mr O’Callaghan.

“As a result, the RAP represents a framework for understanding a client group better so programs can be delivered more effectively.

“It provides a valuable model for other organisations already working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people because it rejects complacency and embraces a process of ongoing learning.”

For more information visit the Mission Australia blogspot

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