Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership Aware Winners – ACT

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today congratulated the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre and Citigroup for their winning partnership in the ACT 2003 Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships.

The Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre (based at Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) on the Acton Peninsular), supported by Citgroup, offers an accredited leadership course to young Indigenous people. It was the first nationally accredited Indigenous leadership course in Australia.

“This partnership aims to inspire and build leadership and entrepreneurship amongst Indigenous people so that they might better shape their own and Australia’s future,” Senator Patterson said.

“Citigroup has given financial and other support to the Australian Indigenous Leadership Program for four national Certificate courses and a Diploma in Indigenous Leadership. Since July 2001, the company’s support has enabled 97 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to attend courses.”

Senator Patterson also commended three other partnerships that received Judge’s Encouragement Awards.

The two partnerships in the small business category awarded Judges’ Encouragement Awards were Kowalski Consulting and the ACT Cancer Council, and Mark Paine Landscaping and Cranleigh School. In the medium business category, the partnership between the Uniting Care Mirinjani Village and Duffy Primary School was also given a Judges’ Encouragement Award.

Kowalski Consulting has a long-standing partnership with the ACT Cancer Council. It provides office space and business support for CanTeen, an organisation for young people with cancer, and its staff are active fundraisers for the Council and volunteer for many activities.

Cranleigh School’s purpose-built sensory garden is the result of a partnership between the school, Mark Paine Landscaping and a consortium of builders and landscapers who donated time, materials and expertise to create the garden. The project has become a model scheme for other schools and organisations.

Bridging the generation gap is just one of the outcomes of a partnership between the Mirinjani Village and Duffy Primary School. When students and the residents come together they share stories and skills, songs and craft. There is a shared history and mentoring and friendships are formed.

“These excellent examples of partnerships have meant that the ACT has benefitted from a diverse range of programs from the professional development of young Indigenous Australians, fundraising and mentoring, the creation of a sensory garden, and bringing together elderly people to make music with school children,” Senator Patterson said.

Other state and territory winners will be presented with their award at ceremonies held throughout the week.

“I also want to take this opportunity to demonstrate the Australian Government’s commitment to fostering community business partnerships nationally by announcing a new brokerage service that will match community organisations and businesses and encourage them to build strong partnerships across Australia,” Senator Patterson said.

“The service will be operated by Our Community Pty Ltd, a gateway to 700,000 community groups and schools, in conjunction with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Municipal Association of Victoria.

“Key features will include an online matching service, email and phone-line advisory service, tool kits of how to and help sheets, train the trainer modules, project newsletter, national and regional conferences and seminars, case management and a database of consultants to help with partnerships.

“My Department will fund the service for 18 months, after which time it is expected to be self-sustaining. It will begin operation by the end of 2003,” Senator Patterson said.

The Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships are awarded annually to partnerships between community and business organisations that generate positive long-term outcomes for the community. The Awards at the state and territory level are divided into three categories – small, medium and large business.

Nine national finalists will be chosen in November from the state and territory winners. The national winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Sydney on December 17, hosted by the Prime Minister and will receive $10,000 for their community partner.