Media Release

June 16, 2009

The Westpac Community Idol 2009 competition came to a thrilling end yesterday in a nail-biter of a finale at the Communities in Control conference as not one, but two community groups were crowned by conference delegates as this year's Community Idol.

In a first for the competition, Edmund Rice Camps (SA) Inc and the WA Aids Council attracted an equal number of votes from delegates at this year's conference, putting them slightly ahead of their rival the Cerebral Palsy Support Network.

All three short-listed groups had just 10 minutes each to plead their case to 1500 people from Australia's community sector as to why their group should deserve Idol status. Following the presentation delegates at the conference voted on which group they thought had made the best contribution to their community.

"As the votes were counted we'd noticed that Edmund Rice and WA Aids Council were running neck and neck but it still came as a surprise that they ended with equal votes," says Rhonda Galbally, AO, CEO of Our Community, "Frankly, it was a bit of headache trying to figure out what to do about it when you're meant to have only one winner on the podium and two groups equally deserving of the honour."

In the end, rather than both winners having to share in the prize money, Westpac Bank and Our Community doubled their support to the competition and two top prizes were given away. Both groups walked away with $3000 in cash from Westpac, $3000 in training and support from Our Community and the title of Community Idol 2009.

Edmund Rice Camps (SA) Inc: This South Australian organization 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 minimize 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 community 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 fifth Australian Community Idol competition is part of the Communities In Control Conference, which was 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 - click here for more info.

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