An annual children’s festival that attracts thousands of visitors every year to Warrnambool today won the prestigious “Commissioner’s Award” at the 2010 Corrections Victoria Community Work Partnership Awards, Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney MP said today.
The partnership involves offenders on community-based orders setting-up and packing-up the festival which is run by Warrnambool City Council.
Ms Tierney said every year offenders from Warrnambool Community Correctional Services helped professional trades people construct the Fun4Kids Festival.
“The partnership between Warrnambool City Council and Corrections Victoria allows offenders to learn valuable skills to assist with finding work and therefore reduce the risk of re-offending,” Ms Tierney said.
“This project also provides the opportunity for offenders to gain valuable personal attributes while performing unpaid work for the community, such as enhanced communication skills, the ability to work as part of a team and self-discipline.”
Ms Tierney said offenders on community-based orders and prisoners undertake unpaid community work as a way of giving back to the community.
“Offenders supervised by Community Correctional Services do hundreds of projects every year throughout the State, to give back to the community. They prepare meals for the homeless, maintain and restore walking tracks through National Parks, undertake general maintenance and gardening, and remove graffiti,” Ms Tierney said.
“Across the state, the community has benefited from more than 800,000 hours of community work carried out by offenders last financial year, valued at $19 million.”
The Corrections Victoria Community Work Partnership Awards were established in 1999 to recognise the many projects that Corrections Victoria undertakes every year across the state to benefit the community.
The awards are open to prisons and Community Corrections (CCS) offices which are responsible for supervising and managing offenders on parole or court imposed orders . This year 64 award nominations were received from across the state from both prisons and community corrections.
Members of the 21-person judging panel included environmental groups, Victoria Legal Aid, the University of Melbourne, The Salvation Army, Melbourne Water, Melbourne Zoo, the National Australia Bank and the Crime Victims Support Association.
Not-for-profit groups interested in forming a community work partnership should contact their local prison or CCS office. Contact details can be found at www.justice.vic.gov.au