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Work for the Dole's top achievers.

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Media Release 22 June 2004

Work for the Dole’s top achievers

The Prime Minister’s Work for the Dole Achievement Awards 2003 are evidence of the program’s value to communities and participants and prove what a successful and diverse program Work for the Dole is, Employment Services Minister, Mal Brough, said today.

Announcing the 61 finalists of the Prime Minister’s Work for the Dole Awards, Mr Brough said the quality of the projects and the efforts of the finalists were outstanding and in many cases inspiring.

The finalists for the Best Work for the Dole Participant in 2003 are:

• Veronica Luta (Coconut Grove Northern Territory) gained skills in computer literacy and general administration and credits her participation in Work for the Dole for helping her secure her job as a community patrol officer.

• Kathrine Tomkins (Bundaberg Queensland) credits her placement with the Salvation Army Family Store in Bundaberg as the event that turned her life around and she now gives her time as a guest speaker in schools to share her story of the harmful effects of drug use.

• Alan Hawker (Wantirna South Victoria) was a forklift driver until he became deaf and was retrenched at 55 years of age he was placed at the Villa Maria Society-Aged Care and Disability Services as a gardener and handyman and the organisation was so impressed that they offered him a full-time position.

• Martin Keller (Leichhardt NSW) undertook an arts based activity ‘Faces of the Inner West’ in Rozelle Sydney and gave up his own time to complete the project and he won the Alan Duncan Award for Outstanding Adult Learner 2003.

• Graham Prall (Willeton Western Australia) created an outdoor sensory garden for use by students with disabilities and demonstrated great initiative in working collaboratively with school staff and teachers.

• Ben Kornouchovs (Gawler South Australia) worked on a graffiti removal program ‘Clean Up Gawler’ and played a major part in auditing the town's graffiti problem and won a Gawler Young Achievers 'Life Choices' Award.

The finalists for the Best Work for the Dole Supervisor in 2003 are:

• June Tardrew (Koondoola Western Australia), a supervisor with Mercy Community Services, has exhibited a deep involvement with the local community and a strong commitment to each Work for the Dole participant.

• Christine Brittian (Mount Gambier South Australia) supervises activities that provide financial support to Lifeline and her reputation is such that she often is reffered the most disadvantaged participants in her area.

• David Sams (Salamander Bay NSW) activity, R&R Recycling re-uses waste material for a wide range of community activities.

• He was nominated as Port Stephens Council Citizen of the Year.

• John Reid (Bunbury Western Australia) has supervised a number of environmental Work for the Dole projects regenerating local waterways and coastal environments in the State’s South-West.

• Bruce Beveridge (Noble Park Victoria) from the Dandy Box Factory in Noble Park uses recycled timber to make boxes for injured and displaced wildlife. Work for the Dole projects have produced over 3,000 boxes which have been distributed to bushfire affected areas.

The finalists for the Best Activity, Caring for People 2003 are:

• Picasso Party (Bathurst NSW) created two large murals and a range of puzzles and games featuring Australian fauna and flora for use by young disabled students at a school for students with special needs.

• Food for Thought (Rasmussen Queensland) provided nutritious food for primary school children to noticeably improve their behaviour and academic performance.

• High School Farm Enterprise (Burnie Tasmania) created a school farm to help students who were not responding to an orthodox classroom learning environment.

The finalists for the Best Activity, Caring for the Environment 2003 are:

• Environmental Construction (Wollongong NSW) upgraded a slipway to EPA standards and undertook projects to improve Wollongong Harbour and the foreshores of Lake Illawarra.

• Mersey NRM Works Team (Latrobe Tasmania) helped clear a willow infestation in a degraded stream in Spreyton making it a haven for native fish.

• Tool Time (Caloundra Queensland) recycles timber and metal and turns it into outdoor furniture with the proceeds passed on to local charities.

• Whale Spotters of SA (Victor Harbour South Australia) collected data on whale sightings and monitored the impact of whale watching vessels.

The finalists for the Best Activity, Caring for Heritage 2003 are:

• Home is Where the Heart Is! (Hurstville NSW) created a museum exhibit and promotional web site showing the contribution of women in the area.

• The Future Preserving the Past (Ridgehaven South Australia) restored 20 horse-drawn buggies, sulkies and carts to be presented to the community and displayed at a museum.

• Full Steam Ahead/Port of Echuca (Echuca Victoria) involved refurbishing Murray River paddle steamers and preserving the Port's heritage.

The finalists for the Best Activity, Caring for Community 2003 are:

• Best Chef (Reservoir Victoria) provided a free lunch program for disadvantaged, isolated and institutionalised people in the community.

• Children ’s International Film Festival (Beenleigh Queensland) involved children, parents, teachers, senior citizens, film-makers by creating a Children's Film Festival that attracted 70 entries.

• Bunbury Dive Wreck (Bunbury Western Australia) created an artificial reef by preparing and scuttling the Russian pirate fishing vessel the Lena.

• Fireforce (Wangaratta Victoria) replaced damaged and burnt-out fences for local farmers affected by bushfires.

"I congratulate each of these finalists on the quality of their efforts," Mr Brough said.

"Since 1997,Work for the Dole has been benefited many communities and in 2003 it provided more than 5,500 work experience activities and helped the employment prospects of over 86,000 job seekers."

"Three months after participating in Work for the Dole, around 35 per cent of participants are employed or in further education. After 12 months this increases to around 46 per cent."

The Prime Minister will present the winners with their Awards at a gala dinner in the Great Hall of Parliament House tomorrow night Wednesday 23 June 2004.

For media inquiries, contact

Paul Edwards Minister Broughs office 0402 919 333 or (02) 6277