Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Prime Minister’s Awards for three Western Australian partnerships

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

These award-winning partnerships have been recognised for outstanding contributions to the community by providing extra help to cancer patients, developing an economic development strategy for the Noongar people of South West Australia and ensuring easy access to legal services for the socially disadvantaged.

The WA Small Business Award has been won by a partnership between the Virtual Cancer Centre.Com Pty Ltd and the Silver Chain Nursing Association Inc for their development of an online system designed to improve communications between health professionals relating to patient care.

The Virtual Cancer Centre invited Silver Chain to form this partnership to develop an online patient held record system, enabling the Virtual Cancer Centre to expand its range of services in providing information on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer.

The benefits of the partnership with Silver Chain include increased productivity of health professionals working within their hospice, rural based services and those providing home-based out-of-hours services throughout WA.

“By combining their expertise, the Virtual Cancer Centre and Silver Chain are making a significant difference to the quality of life for people with cancer, especially for those in the terminal stages of the disease,” Senator Patterson said.

The WA Medium Business Award has been won by Jacobs Sverdrup Australia in partnership with South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council and other partners for the successful development of an economic development strategy and a set of ‘nation building’ plans for the Noongar people of South West Australia.

The partnership was developed in full consultation with the Office of Aboriginal Economic Development and representatives of the Noongar people.

“Through the partnership, the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council has obtained a number of very tangible benefits for the Noongar people,” Senator Patterson said.

“For Jacobs Sverdrup Australia, the partnership has provided staff with a broadened understanding of the mechanics of the Native Title process and of the special circumstances of Indigenous people. Members of the Council also provided constructive feedback on the methodologies and tools employed by Jacobs Sverdrup.”

The winner of the WA Large Business Award was the 12-year-old partnership between Freehills and Sussex Street Community Law Service, providing access to legal services for socially disadvantaged members of the community.

“The Freehills and Sussex Street Community Law Service partnership has provided the community with a reliable, professional, compassionate, effective and stable legal service available to people who would not otherwise be able to access this type of service.

“Over the years this successful partnership has grown from only a few hundred people accessing the service in 1991 to more than 4000 people benefitting from the service in 2003.”

Another partnership, between MODAL and the Western Australian Council of Social Service Inc (WACOSS), has been awarded a WA Medium Business Encouragement Award for running the Community Management and Leadership Program in 2003.

MODAL and WACOSS recognised there was a significant need for management training in the not-for-profit sector and through this partnership, the ability of the not-for-profit sector to deliver quality services within the community sector has improved.

“This partnership has contributed to improving management practices, corporate governance, capacity and improved understanding between the business and community sector,” Senator Patterson said.

“Both of these organisations benefited from a shared transfer of skills, knowledge and expertise, improved their appreciation of another sector and the values within another organisation, developed a positive public image, increased staff morale and developed a business and community network.

“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.