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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership Award winners – Western Australia

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

Senator Patterson said the winner of the medium business award was the Blackwood Waterwatch program, an innovative partnership between WA Plantation Resources and 17 catchment groups and 35 schools.

“The program covers 30,000 square kilometres and allows thousands of people to take an active part in conservation through monitoring of catchment areas and education through information kits, tree planting projects, recycling and composting, bore monitoring and school environmental art projects.

“The winner of the large business award is Ngarda Civil and Mining, a partnership between Henry Walker Eltin and the Ngarda Ngarli Yarndu Foundation. It provides cost effective contracting to the mining industry and dedicated employment and training programs for Indigenous people within all its operations.

“Ngarda employs at least 85 per cent Indigenous personnel, maintains a comprehensive skills training program and this financial year will pay wages worth $4.7 million. It has an order book for $48 million worth of work in the next three years.”

Senator Patterson also commended two other partnerships for recieving Judges’ Encouragement Awards.

Ross & Galloway Real Estate and the Swan River Trust received an Encouragement Award as a small business for a new partnership that encourages the community to clean up and look after the Swan River.

In the medium business category Jacobs Sverdrup and the South West Land and Sea Council received an Encouragement Award for their work in developing an economic development strategy and a set of coordinated ‘nation building’ plans for the Noongar people of South-West Australia.

“These are excellent examples of innovative partnerships throughout Western Australia that have improved the environment, increased Indigenous employment and fostered community awareness of these issues,” Senator Patterson said.

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.