Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

National Business Partnerships Honoured

Winners of the 2004 Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Community Business Partnerships were recognised for their contribution to the Australian community at a gala dinner in Brisbane tonight. The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, tonight, on behalf of Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard, congratulated the five national winners of the 2004 Prime Minister’s Awards for their contribution to their local communities.

“The 2004 winning partnerships have improved the lives of remote Indigenous communities, the poor, homeless and at risk youth, and have also helped fight breast cancer,” Senator Patterson said.

“The award winners underline the significant social benefits achieved when business joins hands with community organisations to make their community a better place.”

Each winning partnership received $10,000 towards the extension of their community projects.

The National Awards were presented in the large, medium and small business categories along with two special awards for Impact on a Community and Longevity.

“The Large Business Award was presented to Woolworths, the Fred Hollows Foundation and the Wugularr Community for establishing the Community Stores Program in the Northern Territory to improve the management of local stores, encourage the employment of Indigenous staff in remote communities, and improve financial literacy.

“This excellent partnership has lead to an expanded range of foods and an improved diet for community members, while empowering Indigenous people and laying the groundwork for similar programs in tourism and the arts.

“The Medium Business Award was won by a South Australian based partnership between Burns for Blinds and Youth Opportunities Association, who worked with young people from areas with low socio-economic demographics to gain skills, confidence and motivation through education.

“The winner of the Small Business Award was won by a Queensland based partnership between Bayside Recruitment and BABI Youth and Family Support, who provide care, guidance and support for homeless or at risk youths in the Wynnum/Redlands area of Brisbane.

“Bayside Recruitment has benefited from the partnership because its staff now have a greater knowledge and awareness of the youth labour market and the company has greater access to a pool of young people seeking employment. BABI has been able to extend its counselling, training and support services because of Bayside’s support.

“Mallesons Stephen Jaques won the special award for Impact on a Community in recognition of its multi-faceted national program aimed at alleviating poverty and improving community welfare, and helping to protect children and young people at risk through provision of free legal services, staff volunteering and workplace giving.

“The special award for Longevity was won by a partnership between Avon Products Pty Ltd, the Australian New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group and YWCA Encore Program, for facilitating increased research, awareness, education and information about breast cancer since 1996.

“This partnership has made a real difference for women with its focus on reducing the incidence of breast cancer and supporting women who have had breast cancer surgery.

“They, like all of the winners of these prestigious awards, can be very proud of their achievements.

“All these partnerships demonstrate that business and community organisations working together can not only achieve mutual benefits, but also more importantly, they can achieve real improvements for the wider society.

“I also want to thank other excellent business and community partnerships, which won state and territory awards, as well as those partnerships not nominated for awards but which continue to have a positive influence in their local communities.

“I look forward to more business and community organisations getting involved in the 2005 Awards,” Senator Patterson said.

During the ceremony, the Minister also announced the Partnership is expanding to sponsor relevant awards in industry programs. As the first of these, the Partnership will sponsor a Community Spirit Award in the National Retail Association’s Rewards for Excellence Program. The three-year sponsorship worth almost $50,000 will encourage industry to consider community capacity building through partnerships.