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Building the social and economic wealth of regional, rural and remote communities

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ACN 004 444 419

The Sid n ey M yer Centenary Celebration 1899 - 1999 Media Briefing

Australian Rural Partnerships M Debits /?^

Building the social and economic wealth o f regional, rural and remote communities

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The Vision

That a charitable foundation based on a partnership between philanthropy, community, government and business be established and operate using innovative funding mechanisms and organisational structures which will support communities to respond positively to change and build social and economic wealth in rural and regional Australia.

Message from Baillieu Myer AC, Chairman of Trustees, The Sidney Myer Fund

“ 1999 is a special year. It marks 100 years since the founder of The Sidney Myer Fund, my father, arrived in Australia from Russia and began his remarkable career as a retailer, philanthropist and patron of the arts. To mark the centenary and to celebrate Sidney Myer’s life and legacy, we are making grants to eight projects under a special program named the Sidney Myer Centenary Celebration 1899-1999.

The projects selected were those which might “make a difference” in areas of concern to our Trustees and the wider community. One of these was an initiative for non-metropolitan Australians, to strengthen and revitalize the social and economic base of their communities. We allocated $1 million as a challenge from

philanthropy to other sectors, to pull together for rural and regional Australia. The Honourable John Anderson MP took up the challenge, working with us and rural leaders to develop the concept of a national foundation for rural development.

We now seek partners in this important initiative, from governments, business and individuals. In these times of great pressure for country people is important to send out a message of support and solidarity from all sectors to revitalise rural, remote and regional Australia”.

Introducing Australian Rural Partnerships

Rural Australia has long been at the heart of our image of ourselves as a nation, even though the majority of us are city dwellers. Rural Australia needs support from all sectors of Australia if it is to positively respond to rapidly changing economic, social and technological developments. As part of The Sidney Myer Centenary Celebration 1899-1999 The Sidney Myer Fund has recognised a potential role for philanthropy in

catalysing a cross-sectoral initiative to support regional, rural and remote communities and has allocated $1 million over 4 years to facilitate the establishment of Australian Rural Partnerships - a charitable foundation to benefit regional, rural and remote communities. This is an important opportunity to demonstrate Australia's renewed focus on corporate giving and investment in community wellbeing.

Level 44, 55 Collins Street M elbourne Victoria Australia 3000 Ph: (03) 9207 3040 Fax: (03) 9207 3070 WphciEp· Httrv / an /~sm f / Fmail:

Australian Rural Partnerships ("ARP") is based cm Australian, US and UK models which encourage partnerships between rural and regional communities, philanthropy, government and business to fund and implement rural development projects aimed at reinvigorating rural areas, especially where initiatives can lead to new sources of economic wellbeing. The Foundation will need key partners at a national and local

level to ensure success.

ARP will take a leadership role in assisting regional, rural and remote communities to respond to social, cultural and economic change. It will do this through collaboration with communities around Australia, strengthening the communities' capacity to drive the changes required. ARP will be a model o f partnership between government, business, philanthropy and community. Exploration of the feasibility o f creating community foundations and other mechanisms as rural develop mart tools will be a primary goal.

ARP will support regional, rural and remote communities to develop and diversify their activities through a rural capacity building program, through an information and training program and through the provision of grants for rural development projects with the aim of improving the social, cultural, environmental and economic wellbeing of rural Australia. Australian Rural Partnerships will commence operation in early 2000 and will be based in a rural area.

The Sidney Myer Fund's $1 million grant has been given as a challenge to potential partners from the business, government and community sectors. While the amount is small in the face of the task, it represents a large part of The Fund's income, indicating the seriousness with which the Trustees intend to initiate real

change in rural Australia. The Sidney Myer Fund will rely on the challenge being taken up over the next four years, during which its $1 million will be used to develop the project. The Fund will not play a long­ term management role after the development period but it will ensure that an accountable legal structure is established for ARP.

This initiative is not aimed at replacing the role of the Commonwealth Government in infrastructure development in key areas such as transport and telecommunications.

How will ARP operate?

Helping regional, rural and remote communities manage change and realise their potential can be achieved in a variety o f ways. Australian Rural Partnerships will use different tools to respond to the needs of those communities.

1. Rural Capacity Building 2. Information and Research 3. Grantmaking Program ■ Regional Community Foundations ■ Partnership Building and

M entor Program s ■ Rural Development and Philanthropy Training Program ■ Conference and Regional

Forum Program ■ Funds Management.

■ Resource Network ■ W ebsite ■ Inform ation Papers ■ Research Program .

■ Annual Funding Program ■ Strategic Funding Program ■ Fundraising o f Corpus

For more information: Baillieu Myer AC or Helen Morris, The Sidney Myer Fund ph: 03 9207 3040, fax: 03 9207 3070