A partnership project between an Australian big business and the Royal Lifesaving Society of Western Australia, that resulted in a fall in the number of drownings among Aboriginal children in the North-West, has won a coveted industry award.
Announcing the Community Services Industry Awards last night, Communities Minister Sue Ellery said BHP Billiton Iron Ore and the Royal Lifesaving Society received a top accolade for helping combat the high rate of drowning among Aboriginal children in the Pilbara and Kimberley.
“This project is a great success story,” Ms Ellery said.
“It shows how business and communities can successfully work together; in this case, to improve safety and water awareness for children using swimming pools and waterholes in remote Aboriginal communities.
“Not only has the project lowered the incidence of drowning, it has also improved children’s health, decreased offending behaviour and increased school attendance.
“Another significant achievement of the project has been the employment of an Aboriginal pool manager at Burringurah in the Pilbara - the first appointment of an Aboriginal pool manager in a remote community.”
From a strong field of entries across the State, 34 finalists in nine categories were selected this year.
Six of the categories were won by regional projects, among them the Western Desert Mob, a collective of remote art centres that joined together to support the financial rights of Aboriginal artists; and Busselton Uniting Church’s Tele-Link and Tele-Church program that provides an in-home service for people with restricted mobility.
The award for outstanding individual was won by Tim Acker from Mundaring for his significant role in the development of indigenous art centres in WA and his commitment to sustainable economic development in remote Aboriginal communities.
“The awards give us a chance to recognise many individuals and groups that make a positive difference to the lives of Western Australians,” the Minister said.
“The winning projects provide much-needed services to their communities and many have grown from partnerships between business, Government and not for profit organisations.
“Their commitment to helping others has benefited a wide range of people, including young people, children, migrants, seniors and Aboriginal people.”
The winners of the Community Services Industry Awards were announced last night at the University of WA Club and are:
‘Working creatively to make a difference’
Whadjuk Radio - Multicultural Radio and Television Assoc of WA
Ethnic radio broadcaster 6EBA has been providing music, information and news to Perth’s multi-cultural community since 1992. Now they are supporting ‘Whadjuk Radio’, a local media voice for young indigenous people in Perth. It has been developed in partnership with Yorgum Aboriginal Counselling, Yirra Yaakin Aboriginal Theatre Company and Abmusic College.
‘Working creatively to make a difference’
Western Desert Mob
Western Desert Mob was formed to protect, support and celebrate the success of Aboriginal art centres in remote WA communities. The partnership between Ngaanyatjarra art centres was established in 2006 to prevent exploitation of Aboriginal artists and ensure, they and their communities, benefit financially and socially from their work.
Busselton Tele-Link and Tele-Church - Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust for the Parish of Busselton
The Busselton Tele-Link and Tele-Church project brings worship and entertainment into the homes of people whose mobility is restricted by age or disability. By providing worship services, forums and concerts for people in Busselton and Perth, the project helps strengthen communities.
Leeuwin Volunteer Crew - Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation
Launched in 1986, the Leeuwin Volunteer Crew program offers an adventure training program for young people. Volunteers are an integral part of the success of the foundation. The Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation is strengthening volunteering by providing volunteers with an opportunity to develop their planning, problem solving, communication, leadership and conflict management skills.
‘Strengthening the community services industry’
Bunbury Early Years Network - Bunbury Community and Child Care Association (Milligan House)
The Bunbury Early Years Network is a community based group providing resources and services for the development of young children in the Greater Bunbury Area. The group supports Aboriginal services for young people, young mothers and their children, as well as children up to eight years old. The network’s capacity to be replicated across other communities has strengthened the community services industry.
‘Business and community partnerships’
Remote Aboriginal swimming pools project - Royal Lifesaving Society WA
A partnership between the Royal Lifesaving Society of WA and BHP Billiton Iron Ore. It aims to address the high rate of drowning among Aboriginal children, as well as enhance health, social, education and training opportunities. The project has improved children’s health, lowered the incidence of drowning, decreased offending behaviour and increased school attendance.
‘Strengthening rural and remote communities’
Wheatbelt Organisation for Children’s Services
The Wheatbelt Organisation for Children’s Services was formed to help rural communities obtain suitable child care services. Through consultation with rural communities about their issues, volunteer members negotiate with agencies and Government departments to help these communities realise their child care needs. The organisation is a positive contributor to strengthening rural and remote communities.
Community First is dedicated to providing employment and community services to the most disadvantaged and long-term unemployed people in the South-West. The only 5-star employment service provider in the South-West, the agency has helped thousands of people, improve their lives through training and sustainable employment.
‘Outstanding commitment by an individual’
Tim has played an important role in the development of indigenous art centres in WA, and has achieved positive outcomes for many Aboriginal artists and their communities. He has made his skills and knowledge freely available to Aboriginal artists. Tim’s continuing commitment and passion in this area has led to sustainable economic development in remote Aboriginal communities.
Minister's office: 9213 7150