Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Prime Minister’s Community Business Award Winners Boost NSW Services

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

The three award-winning partnerships have been recognised for outstanding contributions to the community by tackling child abuse, providing affordable housing for low incomes families and creating new local internet services.

The NSW Large Business Award has been won by a partnership between Greater Building Society and the Mayumarri Trust for its successful operation of a healing centre providing a wide range of services to help survivors of child abuse.

“I commend the Greater Building Society for helping to break down barriers by supporting a cause which many companies have traditionally shied away from because it does not have the same ‘feel good’ status as other charitable activities,” Senator Patterson said.

Under an initial three-year program, which began last year, the Greater Building Society makes an annual grant to help cover the administrative costs of Mayumarri as well as providing business expertise and IT knowledge to enable efficient operation of the healing centre. The Society’s 59 branch offices and staff have increased the public’s knowledge of the work of the healing centre and assisted in fundraising activities.

Mayumarri has contributed its expertise in healing victims of child abuse and because of the Greater Building Society’s support it has been able to extend its services.

The NSW Medium Business Award has been won by a partnership between PMI Mortgage Insurance Ltd and Habitat for Humanity Australia Inc for its creation of more home ownership opportunities for low-income families.

PMI has provided financial support to enable Habitat to build more homes as well as volunteer labour from its workforce and customer base and promotion of the partnership through its networks and public relations expertise.

“Habitat has built more than 150,000 homes in 90 countries since 1976 providing a hand-up, not a hand-out to the low income families it assists.”
Habitat houses are sold to low-income families at less than market value and financed with affordable, no-interest loans. In return the homeowners are required to put 500 hours of their own labour into building their own homes and the houses of others as well as making a $500 down payment and monthly mortgage payments.

A NSW Medium Business Encouragement Award has been won by the partnership between Community First Credit Union and Chaos Television for its creation of a youth-focussed program, Hip Pocket, which is aimed at improving financial literacy at an early age.

The partnership, established last year, has produced the monthly show, with Community First contributing ongoing financial support to Chaos Television, to purchase equipment and pay maintenance costs. Community First has also provided promotional giveaways and marketing support.

Chaos Television’s volunteers have generated segment ideas, produced TV advertisements for the Hip Pocket program and marketed it through community events such as local festival days.

The NSW Small Business Award has been won by a partnership between Empower Australia and the University of Wollongong for its commitment to local community development with the establishment of a free online community web portal.

Empower Australia, which pioneered the portal, has invested finance and support in research studies aimed at the development of a transferable body of knowledge about online communities and web portals that would directly benefit other communities.

The company has provided in-kind support including marketing expertise and the training and employment of University students. The University has also made a significant contribution through research and dissemination of information about community web portals.

“The research has indicated that community web portals have the potential to produce multiple benefits including improved economic, social and cultural activities and the breaking down of barriers between local community members,” Senator Patterson said.

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