Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership Award winners – Tasmania

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

Senator Patterson said the Judges’ Encouragement Awards were given this year in the small business category to the Gandel Charitable Trust and Anglicare Tasmania, and in the large business category to Aurora Energy and the NILS Network.

“The Gandel Charitable Trust has made it possible for both Anglicare and the Salvation Army to offer a joint service by providing office space in the Eastlands Shopping Complex.

“The Trust renovated the site to provide two personal counselling rooms, a large storage space for food and clothing, and a warmer more welcoming atmosphere. The Eastlands Shopping Centre Management Team also provides ongoing support to the workers on site,” Senator Patterson said.

Senator Patterson said Aurora Energy had supported the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) network in three key areas: funding to establish, service and maintain a funds pool; staff expertise and systems training; publicising the scheme.

“The NILS network is administered through seven Tasmanian Community organisations: Anglicare, Centacare, Colony 47, Glenorchy City Mission, Salvation Army, Tasmanian Association of Community Houses and Wyndarra.

“It offers no interest loans to families to purchase essential household items or equipment, such as computers, that will improve job prospects, education and training.

“NILS has also expanded its service to offer loans to migrants to bring family members to Tasmania. It also offers a SCAM busters service to promote community awareness of potentially high cost credit plans and prevent people from falling into an unmanageable credit cycle.

“These examples of innovative Tasmanian business and community partnerships provide interest free loans to low-income families and emergency relief assistance and referrals to families in need.”

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.

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.