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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership Award winners – Queensland

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today congratulated the three winning Queensland partnerships in the 2003 Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships.

Senator Patterson said the small business category was won by the partnership between Charters Towers City Council and several local businesses including Towers Mitre 10, Woolworths, Holliman’s Hardware, Herbert Hall Hardware and Treasure Kingdom to reduce the incidence of inhalant abuse by young people.

“Retailers began by reducing access to paint, installing security cameras, displaying signage with their sales policy and educating staff. Longer-term goals are to reduce graffiti and juvenile crime, and create a whole of community approach to deal with the issues of paint sniffing and health,” she said.

“It is very pleasing to see local communities taking the initiative to tackle the very worrying issues of young Australians sniffing petrol and paint and this partnership is a worthy winner.”

In the large business category, awards were given to both the Westpac Banking Corporation and the Indigenous Enterprise Partnership (IEP) partnership, and the partnership between Thiess Pty Ltd and the Life Stream Foundation.

Senator Patterson said Westpac, together with the Boston Consulting Group and the Body Shop, had been working with IEP to help build a sustainable economy in Cape York.

“They send their staff out to help educate and mentor, and also provide funding and resources to Cape York organisations.

“IEP coordinates the corporate and philanthropic resources into Indigenous development and the Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation ensures that the programs are relevant to the Indigenous aspirations for the development of Cape York.

“Using business and community skills the partnership aims to empower individuals and families to take more responsibility for their community’s future. I am very proud to say that this initiative also receives funding from the Department of Family and Community Services.”

Senator Patterson said Life Stream offered people with a range of disabilities the opportunity to take part in recreation sport and leisure activities.

“Theiss became a partner with Life Stream to help it become a dynamic and self-sustaining organisation.

“Over a five-year partnership Theiss agreed to offer professional development, consulting and advice, volunteer input, and fundraising. Already Life Stream has reduced its dependency on Government funding from 47 percent to 23 percent.”

Senator Patterson also commended AV Jennings and Zoe’s Place whose partnership received a Judge’s Encouragement Award in the medium business category for their efforts to improve the lives of very sick children.

“Zoe’s Place is a children’s hospice in Brisbane that offers a family support service and it is in the process of building a home away from home for seriously ill children, where they can have fun and allow their families or carers some respite and rest. AV Jennings will help build the project and its staff are actively involved in fundraising.

“These excellent examples of innovative Queensland community business partnerships have built sustainable economies in Cape York, reduced substance abuse, built a home away from home for seriously ill children and helped disabled people to play a greater role in the community.”

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.