Media Release

June 11, 2009

Just three finalists remain in Australia's Community Idol competition for 2009.

The competition is a highlight of the annual Communities in Control Conference and uses an Idol format in which the three finalists have 10 minutes each to convince 1500 people that they alone deserve Idol status. The competition judges groups on participation, board performance, fundraising strength, communications and advocacy.

Five hundred nominated groups have been reduced to three finalists:

Cerebral Palsy Support Network: This organisation was started by a group of mothers who were frustrated at a lack of support for people with cerebral palsy. Through sheer gumption, they've gone on to organise one of the biggest partnership coups in the country when they developed Melbourne's Longest Cake by roping in big names like Crown Casino and Box Hill Institute of TAFE to run the event and persuaded scores of corporations to part with their money to be allowed to take part.

Edmund Rice Camps (SA) Inc: This South Australian organisation has only four employees yet somehow marshals more than 400 volunteers to deliver 23 camps a year for young people who come from marginalised backgrounds or facing big issues like mental health problems, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and social isolation. How did they get so many people to donate their time? The way they've used Facebook and other social media is only the start.

WA Aids Council: This organisation should be a run-of-the-mill AIDS Council working with at-risk communities to minimise the spread of HIV virus. How did they get to the finalist stage? By repeatedly going beyond their mission statement to meet the needs of their key communities by establishing Freedom Centres for young same-sex attracted youth, programs to decrease stigma and discrimination towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and pushing the envelope on new ways to get some important health information across.

"The finalists this year come from different states and play very different roles - but they are united by one thing - they didn't just sit around when it came time to do something for their community," says Dr Rhonda Galbally, CEO of Our Community, which organises the award and co-convenes the conference. "Getting idol status inspires other groups to do the same and take charge of their local future."

The three finalists will present their case for the title on the opening day of the Communities In Control Conference in Melbourne Monday June 15. Competitors strut their stuff in front of 1500 conference-goers from across the country who then vote for the winner. The winner receives $3000 from Westpac, the Idol trophy, a range of Our Community services and publications, along with priceless Community Idol status.

Adds Dr Galbally: "Unlike some other Idols, we think you'll be hearing for these ones in years to come."

The fifth Australian Community Idol competition is part of the Communities In Control Conference held at Melbourne's Moonee Valley Racecourse June 4 and 5. It is the biggest community sector event of 2009.


CONFERENCE: Communities in Control 2009; Crisis, Catastrophe, Community: Rebuild Renew, Recharge

VENUE: Moonee Valley Racing Club, McPherson Street, Moonee Ponds, Victoria.

WHEN: Monday and Tuesday June 15 & 16, 2009.


FURTHER INFORMATION: Phone (03) 9320 6800 or email to