Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships

Collaborative research

Mission Australia has put together this kit for their staff. The information and tools in the kit are founded on the idea that all partnerships and work with a community form part of a journey based on relationship. Such a relationship should ideally form well before a formal partnership is established, demonstrate principles of collaboration, coordination, cooperation, and communication, and seek to retain a connection of some form beyond the ending of a formal partnership. This partnership kit will provides readers with the guidance and tools to ensure that they are well equipped throughout the journey, from getting to know respective community through to potentially ending partnerships in the future. As readers begin applying the information and resources found in this kit, it is vital that they look to approach relationship and partnership development in a manner that is locally relevant and culturally appropriate. 

Key Findings:

  • Opportunities to expand an ongoing relationship with an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander organisation into a formalised partnership, offer a variety of benefits for both organisations, as well as service users and community. However, it is important that everyone fully understands all the motivations, benefits, and risks, and that these are established from the outset of the partnership process.
  • ur Community The challenge of initiating fresh connections with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agencies and groups can be an overwhelming one. Questions of who to meet with, where to find the appropriate agencies and groups, and how to connect without offending, are all important and relevant considerations.
  • Historically, the role many purpose-led agencies have had in the lives and communities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has not always been associated with positive outcomes. There can sometimes be a mistrust of people who offer services based on the concepts of intervention, protection, and mission.
  • Partnerships vary in size, purpose, and formality. Different tools, structures, and legal activities and approvals may be required, depending on the nature of the partnership being adopted.
  • Navigating an end date can involve uncertainty, questions of what the future may look like for the community, and understanding what a reallocation of staff and resources may mean. Aiming to maintain connections with the partner organisation or group, and remaining embedded in the community, should both be key aims as you exit a partnership.



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