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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Prime Minister’s Community Business Award Winners Build Better Futures for Queensland’s at-risk Youth and Intellectually Disabled People

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today congratulated two Queensland partnerships for winning the 2004 Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships.

The two award-winning partnerships have been recognised for outstanding contributions to the community by providing help and support to homeless or at-risk youths and job opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.

The Queensland Large Business Award was won by the partnership between Bluescope Steel Lysaght, formerly known as BHP Steel, and the Endeavour Foundation for its 15-year-old scheme in which people with intellectual disabilities produce steel products for the building industry.

Bluescope, one of Australia’s largest steel producers, and Endeavour, which provides services for people with intellectual disabilities, have mutually benefited from this ongoing partnership.

The company has successfully outsourced some of its production while contributing to the community by creating meaningful job opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.

“Endeavour has capitalised on these opportunities by providing training and support to people with an intellectual disability to help them to work. People with disabilities engaged in the work have gained enormous satisfaction from their achievements by making quality products and performing real work that benefits the whole community,” Senator Patterson said.

Bluescope has provided and maintained the plant and equipment, also providing the sheet metal used for production at no cost. It has provided training to the Endeavour supervisors and financial support through doorknock appeals and supporting the International Day for People with a Disability.

“This partnership has helped to change community perceptions of people with intellectual disabilities and as their achievements become more widely-known, community expectations increase. This has a roll-on effect so that the community clearly sees the untapped potential of people with intellectual disabilities,” Senator Patterson said.

The Queensland Small Business Award was won by the partnership between Premium Ideas and Marketing Pty Ltd (Bayside Recruitment) with Bayside Adolescent Boarding Inc (BABI) for the support and guidance given to homeless or at-risk youths in the Wynnum/Redlands area.

BABI has offered a suite of services since it was first established as a grass roots community organisation in 1983. The services include counselling for young people and their families, family mediation, a range of accommodation services and programs in skill development, self-esteem workshops and crime prevention initiatives.

BABI has also trained staff from Bayside Recruitment so that they could develop a better understanding of the community and the youth labour market.

Bayside Recruitment has helped fund and support BABI with a $10 donation for every placement fee it has received and by providing pro bono recruitment services and IT support. Free one-on-one personal support has also been made available to some of BABI’s unemployed clients.

Company staff also volunteered their time to assist BABI with odd jobs and a staff member serves as Secretary of the Board, with the support of the business.

Bayside Recruitment’s business profile has been considerably enhanced by the partnership with many local employers choosing to use the company because of its strong commitment to BABI.

Thanks to the company’s financial support, BABI has been able to extend its counselling and support services and minimise administrative costs. Employment expertise offered by Bayside Recruitment has also helped BABI with its training and support programs and the pro bono services have made it easier to place young people in jobs.

“These partnerships enable business and community sectors to achieve mutual goals, develop solutions to local and regional problems, and most important, they strengthen community ties,” Senator Patterson said.