Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership Aware winners – Victoria

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today congratulated the four Victorian partnerships that have won awards in the 2003 Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships.

The small business winner is Centre for Executive Development (CED) and the Blackwood Centre for Adolescent Development at Drouin.

The medium business award was made to Executive Homes and Chances for Children in Mildura and the large business winner is The Age and the Hume Global Learning Centre at Broadmeadows in Melbourne.

Seek Communications, The Boston Consulting Group and Volunteering Australia received a multistate award for a medium sized business that has community partnerships in more than one location for its GoVolunteer website.

A Judges’ Encouragement Award was also made in the large business category to Yarra Valley Water and the Kildonan Child and Family Services.

“The CED and the Blackwood Centre for Adolescent Development at Drouin have worked together to develop an education program that builds a sustainable environment and a culture that helps young people at risk,” Senator Patterson said.

“This innovative program has shown what great ideas and projects happen at the community level and has become a national model for other schools and organisations.

“Chances for Children was created in the Mildura area to give young people disadvantaged by finance or rural isolation the opportunity to reach their potential through access to education and social and cultural activities.

“Executive Homes partnered the organisation to provide staff support and volunteers and build a 27-square home with profits from its sale going to the community organisation. This has improved the long-term viability of the program.”

Senator Patterson said The Age newspaper had partnered the Hume Global Learning Centre in Broadmeadows to create a public library to provide ongoing educational and vocational resources and media support.

“The initial $100,000 donation to create the facility will be added to with education kits, newspapers, special publications, education programs, book events and the full weight of The Age’s education unit with the aim to provide high-quality programs and encourage people to become lifelong learners.

“The GoVolunteer website, the first not for profit volunteer matching website in Australia, is a partnership between Seek Communications, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Volunteering Australia (VA). The back-end of the website is administered by Seek, the front-end is administered by VA and the overall strategic direction is set by a steering committee with representatives from all organisations. Each partner uses the site in different ways.

“Volunteering Australia uses it to advance volunteering in Australia while BCG uses it as a training project for its staff, and to boost staff morale and Seek uses it as one of the modules on their award-winning recruitment site.

“Yarra Valley Water and the Kildonan Child and Family Services have developed a partnership to help customers who have difficulty paying their water bills. The program focuses on early intervention and prevention and provides access to financial counselling. It also includes a customer incentive and debt-write off program.

“These excellent examples of innovative Victorian partnerships have helped young people at risk, improved literacy, increased job opportunities and financial management, and given more chances to disadvantaged children.”

Senator Patterson was also pleased to announce a new brokerage service that will match community organisations and businesses and encourage them to build strong partnerships, providing further evidence of the Australian Government’s commitment to fostering community business partnerships.

“The service will be operated by Our Community Pty Ltd, a gateway to 700 000 community groups and schools, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Municipal Association of Victoria, and should begin by the end of 2003.

“The Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships are awarded annually to partnerships between community and business organisations that have generated positive long-term outcomes for the community,” Senator Patterson said.

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 17 December, hosted by the Prime Minister and winners will receive $10 000 for their community partner.