26 October 2023

Minister for the NDIS and Government Services Bill Shorten MP has today launched a new partnership between the Commonwealth, Hearing Australia and the Salvation Army.

Based out of the Magpie Nest Café at the Salvation Army’s Project 614 in the Melbourne CBD, Hearing Australia will now provide hearing services to people who may be homeless, or have drug and alcohol addiction, or mental health and general health issues.

The Magpie Nest Café provides free meals, crisis intervention and support, general and ongoing support to people in need, including people experiencing homelessness, people living in boarding houses and rooming houses, asylum seekers and international students.

Now, it will also provide regular support services for listening and communication. This includes reviews of hearing and communication needs, selecting, fitting and helping people make good use of hearing devices, and ongoing clinical care and device repair services.

Hearing loss impacts 3.6 million Australians, with more than 1.3 million people living with a hearing condition that could have been prevented, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children suffering from a higher rate of ear disease.

This is the latest partnership between the Albanese Government and the Salvation Army to assist people who are doing it tough to access government services.

In 2022, Minister Shorten launched the Community Partnership Pilot, which put Services Australia support workers in charitable organisations like Project 614. This pilot now operates across 18 sites across Australia and has helped more than 14355 times.

Lines attributable to Minister for the NDIS & Government Services, Bill Shorten:

“Hearing Australia’s services at the Salvo’s Project 614 is a welcome addition and shows the success of the government services offering.

“People who are facing hardship don’t need another layer of social isolation caused by hearing loss.

“Hearing loss can make it difficult for people to learn and communicate, impacting a person’s ability to get an education or find work. It can cause significant harm to mental health and can lead to memory loss, social isolation and depression.

“By providing hearing supports through Magpie Nest, Hearing Australia and the Salvation Army are helping some of Australia’s most vulnerable.

“I hope that the success of this partnership will lead to further Hearing Australia programs being opened.”

Lines attributable to Hearing Australia Managing Director, Kim Terrell:

“Hearing Australia is proud to partner with the Salvation Army to provide hearing services to their clients visiting the Magpie Nest Café.

“Just like the Salvation Army, we’re committed to improving the lives of others, regardless of their age, location or background. Our mission is to provide world leading research and hearing services for the wellbeing of all Australians.

“We continue to achieve our mission through collaboration with dedicated and vital organisations like the Salvos, working with the government and partnering with communities to prevent and treat hearing loss. Together, we’re making it easier for all Australians to get the expert hearing care they deserve.”

Lines attributable to Major Brendan Nottle, the Salvation Army Melbourne Project 614:

“The Salvation Army Magpie Nest Cafe at Bourke Street sees over 500 people a day. We are extremely grateful to NDIS and Government Services Minister Bill Shorten for connecting us with Hearing Australia.

“The work they have been doing in the cafe in recent times has been transformative for some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Hearing Australia are conducting hearing tests in a very relaxed and informal environment and helping to provide the support people need to become reconnected with the community once again. We are really looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership with Hearing Australia and we believe that some of the most vulnerable people in our community with benefit significantly from this partnership in the cafe.”