Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

Local Government Awards for Community Services

I want to congratulate the seven local councils that have been recognised for their dedication to building stronger communities in the 2002 National Awards for Local Government, announced today in Alice Springs.

The National Awards for Local Government are a crucial way of acknowledging innovation and encouraging continuous improvement in the local government sector.

Melbourne City Council has won the Community Services Category award, recognising community-focused solutions to local problems, for its ‘Kensington Relocated’ project.

Gingin Shire Council in Western Australia was judged the best rural entry in this category, and Leichhardt Municipal Council achieved a judge’s Commendation for its local graffiti solutions.

This is the fourth year that my Department has sponsored the community category awards as part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to encouraging local solutions to local problems.

The extremely high standard of entries overall, and the outstanding quality of the category award winners is proof that this investment is producing results where they really count.

This year, we also sponsored a new Strengthening Indigenous Communities Category, which recognises innovative approaches that encourage Indigenous community participation.

The inaugural award has been taken out by the Town of Port Hedland’s entry, ‘Courthouse Arts Centre and Gallery’. Three Commendations were also awarded in this category, reflecting the great work being undertaken by local governments in this area.

Details of winners in the Community Award Categories sponsored by the Department of Family and Community Services are attached.

Community Services Category

The Melbourne City Council, Vic – Winning Entry Community Services Category:
The Kensington Relocated project is an innovative, thoughtful, treatment of a significant urban redevelopment of public housing infrastructure. The process undertaken for the relocation of tenants to allow for the demolition and redevelopment of a public housing estate site, is a progressive example of cooperation and collaboration between the State government agencies, the Melbourne City Council, the developer and the community reflecting a sensitive understanding of the needs of the displaced tenants.

Gingin Shire Council, WA – Best Rural Entry Community Services Category:
The Gingin Shire Council combined with six other Local Government Areas and five State government departments to produce reliable Emergency Services Directories for two regions. The involvement of so many cross-sector agencies, non-government organisations and volunteer participants in the project makes the coordination, development and production of the data for the directories a significant achievement.

Leichhardt Municipal Council, NSW – Commendation Community Services Category:
Graffiti vandalism is a major aggravation in many communities, raising with it fears of increased crime and for community safety, as well as stereotyping the youth of a community. The Leichhardt Municipal Council’s solution graffiti trailer and removal kits provide a cost effective way for members of the community to be directly involved in the timely removal of the graffiti. The quick removal of markers can disrupt the exposure significance of the hits and be a potential deterrent for other attacks.

Strengthening Indigenous Communities Category

The Town of Port Hedland Council, WA – Winning Entry Strengthening Indigenous Communities Category:
The Courthouse Arts Centre and Gallery is an excellent example of practical reconciliation. A collaborative partnership established between the Town of Port Hedland Council, the Hedland Arts Council and the Pilbara Arts Craft and Design Aboriginal Corporation has established the Courthouse Arts Centre and Gallery, promoting Indigenous culture, fostering positive cultural exchanges and finding creative solutions to Indigenous unemployment.

Alice Springs Town Council and Tangentyere Council, NT – Commendation Strengthening Indigenous Communities Category:
The ‘Working Together’ project involved Alice Springs Town Council and Tangentyere Council resolving six years of litigation to build a new relationship based on trust and shared responsibility. This dedication to working together to solve their problems has led to the Councils establishing a program of community development and the creation of significant Indigenous employment opportunities.

Julalikari Council, NT – Commendation Strengthening Indigenous Communities Category:
Nyinkka Nyunyu Community and Cultural Centre aims to meet social and cultural needs and create economic opportunities for both the Indigenous community and the Barkly region as a whole. The Centre has been purpose designed to accommodate community needs for a teaching and learning place for young people, and to promote local art and tourism.

City of Gosnells, WA – Commendation Strengthening Indigenous Communities Category:
The City of Gosnells’ Indigenous Community Liaison Officers Service has been successful in reducing police call outs and Aboriginal incarceration rates, reducing anti-social behaviour and vandalism, increasing feelings of safety among park users, breaking down racial barriers and stereotyping, and providing Aboriginal role models for young people.