Redland City Council has won the Local Government Association of Queensland’s (LGAQ) annual award for local leadership in preventing domestic and family violence (DFV).
Council was named this year’s local government winner of the Alison Woolla Award for its vocal advocacy for a comprehensive response to DFV and actively championing the cause to raise awareness and funding for critical intervention.
The award was presented to Redland City Mayor Karen Williams and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Chesterman at the LGAQ 127th Annual Conference in Gladstone.
LGAQ President Sunshine Coast Mayor, Mark Jamieson, applauded the leadership of Cr Williams and Mr Chesterman for their stewardship in making a tangible difference in the number of DFV services available within the Redlands.
Redland City Council expanded beyond their impact in the community and also set an example as an employer, the LGAQ added in a statement.
The LGAQ noted that Redland City was one of the first local governments in Australia to implement workplace strategies to support employees who may be affected by violence or abuse.
Cr Williams said Council believes its service to the community includes genuinely caring for its community.
“In the area of domestic and family violence prevention, we can make a difference working as a community,” she said.
“We can send the message that society does not accept this, that society does care, that society does still operate on values of respect, empathy, support and decency, and that we do protect each other.”
Mr Chesterman said that spirit of caring was enacted and encouraged in all of Council’s workplaces.
“As an employer we offer support options including DFV leave entitlements, flexible work arrangements, workplace safety plans, peer support officers and confidential third-party support and counselling,” he said.
Through its actions, Redland City Council has aided to the delivery of desperately needed frontline services and crisis support, the LGAQ said.
The Maybanke crisis accommodation complex is a safe haven for Redlands Coast women and children escaping family violence. Council’s fundraising has helped deliver four new accommodation units and a children’s play area for the complex.
The LGAQ said Diner en Rouge, Redland City Council’s successful fundraiser, hosted by Cr Williams, continued to be the key driver of funds for the Maybanke crisis accommodation complex. The event brings together community, government and business leaders and to-date has raised more than $455,000.
The Alison Woolla Award was launched by LGAQ in 2020 to honour the legacy of the late Alison Woolla, a former Mayor of Aurukun and dynamic reform leader, who provided support for members of her community when they were experiencing abuse, opening her doors and inviting them to stay with her.
This year the award was expanded into two categories – local government and community – to reflect the work being done to tackle DFV.
Former police officer and founder of LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Foundation, Ben Bjarnesen, was awarded the community category, taking home a $5000 bursary.
Mr Bjarnesen champions for improved services for LGBTQ+ victims of crime and domestic violence, and is recognised both nationally and internationally for his commitment and leadership in improving relationships between police and LGBTQ+ communities.