Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

National Finalists announced for PM Awards

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today congratulated the 10 National Finalists in the Prime Minister’s Awards For Excellence in Community Business Partnerships 2003.

“The finalists have been chosen from the state and territory winners, announced in October. National winners will be selected in three categories – small, medium and large business and in addition two Special Awards will be made, the first to a partnership that has had an Impact on the Community and the second for Longevity to a partnership that has been operating for more than five years,” Senator Patterson said.

“In the small business category there are three finalists: Gwydir Valley Cotton Growers Association and Moree Aboriginal Employment Strategy Ltd (MAES) from Moree New South Wales; The Centre for Executive Development (CED) and the Blackwood Centre for Adolescent Development from Drouin in Victoria and the Charters Towers City Council and several local businesses from Queensland.

“In the medium business category the three finalists are: the Blackwood Waterwatch Program, a partnership between WA Plantation Resources and 17 catchment groups and 35 schools in Western Australia; Parafield Gardens High School, Primary School and Junior Primary School and Helping Hand Aged Care Inc from South Australia; and the Go Volunteer website, a partnership operating nationally between Volunteering Australia, SEEK Communications and The Boston Consulting Group.

“In the large business category four finalists have been chosen because of the high calibre of nominations received this year.

“They are: the multistate partnership between the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre and Citigroup; the collaboration between the Indigenous Enterprise Partnership, the Balkanu Development Corporation and the Westpac Banking Corporation and other partners, in Cape York, Queensland; the Ngarda Ngarli Yarndu Foundation and Henry Walker Eltin and Indigenous Business Australia in Port Headland Western Australia; and Life Stream Foundation and Theiss Pty Ltd in Brisbane Queensland.”

Senator Patterson said the partnerships were creating positive change in key areas of Australian society by improving education, bridging the generation gap, caring for the environment and providing opportunities for disabled people and respite for carers.

“They also encourage employment and strong economies, minimise harm to young people and foster the volunteering spirit,” she said.

“There is significant mutual benefit. Many of the business partners have experienced increased staff morale, staff expertise and gained a greater awareness of their company in the broader community. Community organisations have gained volunteer support, business skills, mentoring and advice that helps them to become more economically viable and sustainable.

“Each finalist represents a strong partnership where business and community organisations are using their passion, commitment and expertise to develop programs that help people in their community or improve the environment.

“The Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships celebrate a growing culture of collaboration within the Australian community and I congratulate all 308 partnerships that nominated this year.

“They are a powerful endorsement of Australians, their generosity of spirit and their commitment to work together to build a strong and vigorous future for our country, ”
Senator Patterson said.

The National Winners will be announced in Sydney on 17 December when the Prime Minister will present the awards. All five National Award Winners will receive $10 000 for their community partner.