Welcome to the website for the Social Justice Commission for the Catholic Diocese of Toowoomba.  

Our Commission was established in 2002 as a key direction in the Diocesan Pastoral Plan – “embracing action for Social Justice”.  Five aspects to our work are:  spirituality, education, leadership, solidarity and research.  In partnership with those affected by injustice the Commission works to analyse issues and reflectively advocate for action.  The Commission is grounded in Catholic Social Teaching.  Our current priorities are:  justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, caring for the environment and support and advocacy for refugees.   We work to promote human rights and our actions are informed by the dignity of the human person.

Bishop and RAP Committee get behind the Recognise Campaign

Bishop Robert McGuckin and members of the Toowoomba Catholic Diocese Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) sub-committee getting behind the Recognise campaign

The RAP Sub-committee for the Diocese of Toowoomba had their first meeting of the year this week.  They reviewed actions committed to as part of the Reconciliation Action Plan during 2013 and recommitted to stronger relationships, improving respect and promoting opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Diocese.   "At this moment in history it is exciting to be a part of a movement working for positive change," stated Executive Officer Doctor Mark Copland.  "I am proud of the work we are doing for reconciliation in our Diocese and really looking forward to educating and promoting Recognise in every corner of our Diocese."   RECOGNISE is the people’s movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution. Tens of thousands of Australians from all walks of life have already declared their support to recognise the first Australians in our founding document. We want to see fairness and respect at the heart of our Constitution, and to remove discrimination from it. Our goal is a more united nation. This is a chance for Australia to acknowledge the first chapter of our national story, and to forge our future together - after so many chapters apart.

Media Release Closure of four immigration detention centres welcomed.

15 January 2014

The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) welcomes the decision by the Federal Government to close four immigration detention facilities in Australia.
Detention centres in far-North Queensland (Scherger), Tasmania (Pontville), Western Australia (Leonora), and South Australia (Port Augusta) are set to close in a move which immigration minister Scott Morrison describes as “proof” that the Government’s border protection policies have slowed boat arrivals.
“It is not a crime to seek asylum yet sadly these detention centres have been a source of immense pain and misery for thousands of our brothers and sisters who have come to us in search of refuge”, said Fr Maurizio Pettenà, National Director of the ACMRO.
“Australia should treat those who come to our shores with respect and dignity. Locking asylum seekers in immigration detention centres is punitive and immoral, and most asylum seekers that have arrived in Australia have been found to meet the legal definition of a refugee”, said Fr Pettenà.
“Asylum seekers have been effectively hosted in our community for many years now which is a much more humane alternative to closed immigration detention” he said.
“The recent decline in boat arrivals is nothing to boast about if we haven’t found other ways to help people who are still in desperate need of refuge. The Catholic Church encourages governments to implement policies which assist people seeking asylum”, he said. 
“One of the most life affirming and compassionate ways Australia can help is through our refugee resettlement program”, he said.
“Just last year, the refugee program had 20,000 places available, but sadly this program has been severely reduced to around 13,000 places making it even harder for refugees and asylum seekers”, said Fr Pettenà. 

For media enquiries, please contact Beth Doherty 0407 081 256 or Joe Moloney (02) 6201 9848

Bounce Takes Out 2013 Social Justice Award

Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio, David Burrett (Bounce), Bishop Robert McGuckin, Dan Stewart (Bounce) and Mark Copland at the Town Hall Awards Ceremony. Below Brett Rangiira singing "From Little Things Big Things Grow"

BOUNCE is the winner of the 2013 Social Justice Award for Toowoomba. “Bounce is a great example of what a social enterprise can achieve in a local community,” stated Executive Officer Dr Mark Copland. They do far more than serve great coffee. They have helped to make our streetscape far more interactive and interesting. Their energy on Ruthven St is infectious and the smiles they bring to people every day is a gift for all of us.


Bounce goes beyond a charity model of support to one of justice where people facing employment barriers are given an opportunity to work and have their dignity enhanced in the process. We congratulate those who have worked so hard to make Bounce a reality. The imagination, courage and hard work that they have invested in the business are outstanding. As their motto states, “It more than what’s in the cup”. Every day Bounce helps to break down stereotypes and stigma around mental health and other areas of disadvantage in the Toowoomba community.



Social Justice Commission is now on Facebook. Click here to check it out and follow our page for the most up to date information, news and events!

For more information on Asylum Seekers and Refugees click here

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