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Philanthropic restaurateur and paediatrician are Victoria's local heroes.



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Media Centre Philanthropic restaurateur and paediatrician are Victoria’s Local Heroes

16 November

A community-minded entrepreneur from Melbourne, Shanaka Fernando, and a community-minded paediatrician from Geelong, Dr Bernard Jenner, are the 2007 Victorian Local Heroes.

The Local Hero award is a category of the Australian of the Year Awards 2007 to be announced in Canberra on the eve of Australia Day.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Robb, recognised the achievements of the Victorian Local Heroes and congratulated them for their active participation in their local communities.

‘The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs is proud to sponsor the Local Hero Award as part of the Australian of the Year Awards because it recognises the participation of so many Australian citizens who actively contribute to, and strengthen their local communities,’ Mr Robb said.

Shanaka Fernando, Victoria’s metropolitan Local Hero, established the ‘Lentil as Anything‘ concept, a cooperative and youth training enterprise operating in four Melbourne restaurants, with a ‘pay what you can afford‘ philosophy.

The not-for-profit business employs about 80 young people and provides space for artists and writers.

‘Shanaka has proven you can combine being community minded with the running of a successful business,’ Mr Robb said.

Dr Bernard Jenner, Victoria’s regional Local Hero, is a Geelong paediatrician and community support networker.

Bernard is the founder and president of two organisations (Gateways Support Services and Hope Bereavement Care), set up to assist community members and patients deal with grief and loss.

He also started a programme for young Geelong footballers displaced by the draft.

‘Bernard’s training and experience enables him to provide a holistic approach to healthcare and support for community members,’ Mr Robb said.

All state and territory Metropolitan and Regional Local Hero Award recipients announced around Australia this month will now become finalists for Australia’s Local Hero, part of the Australian of the Year Awards 2007, announced in Canberra on the eve of Australia Day.

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Andrew Robb AO MP Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

BIOGRAPHIES:

LOCAL HERO - METROPOLITAN VICTORIA Shanaka Fernando, Abbotsford (Melbourne suburb) Community Minded Entreprenuer

By establishing the ‘Lentil as Anything’ concept, Shanaka Fernando has set a wholly successful example to society of how a commercial enterprise can be operated on an altruistic basis and still be financially successful and popular with the public. Since Shanaka relinquished his personal capital in the first restaurant and turned it into a cooperative and youth training enterprise, the business has grown into four restaurants employing about 80 young people and

providing space for artists and writers. This not-for-profit business celebrates compassion, individuality, and artistic expression under a philosophy that challenges and defies our consumerist society. The policy of ‘no set prices’ where customers pay only what they can afford or what they think the meal was worth is a social experiment that encourages people to have an internal conversation with their conscience and their ethics. And on top of that, the food is terrific.

LOCAL HERO - REGIONAL VICTORIA Dr Bernard Jenner, Highton (Geelong suburb) Paediatrician

Throughout his career, Dr Jenner has shown outstanding dedication and leadership in his role as a community paediatrician. His qualifications and experience in family therapy as well as medicine enable him to provide a holistic approach to supporting families with complex needs. Bernard’s community recognises him for his outstanding achievements as the founder and president of two organisations. Gateways Support Services helps families deal with the grief of a family member having a disability. Hope Bereavement Care is a programme for those who suffer the unthinkable, the death of a child. He also established a programme of home dinners for young Geelong footballers displaced by the draft. Bernard has the knack of creating support networks for people facing all kinds of disadvantage and then backing away from the limelight to let others take the credit.

MEDIA CONTACT: Andrew Coombe 0438 77714

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