Community Service Success Stories
Every day across Queensland, offenders, supervisors and local councils are helping prove how successful community service can be with effective partnership working.
With projects ranging from environmental and waterways management to grounds maintenance and sorting recyclables, offenders are giving back to their communities while enhancing their own life skills and work opportunities.
Below are some of the many examples of community service success stories.
Partners: Noosa Heads Probation and Parole District Office, Petrie Creek Catchment Care Group, Sunshine Coast Regional Council
Community service projects have transformed the Petrie Creek catchment area, in Nambour, with the help of more than 26,000 hours of unpaid labour worth at least $390,000.
In the past ten years, offenders have planted more than 25,000 trees and shrubs and removed countless weeds and noxious plants, bringing about the significant restoration of the 2km stretch of riverbank between Quota Park and Sundale Park.
Community service workers also contribute to bushland rehabilitation work in other local conservation reserves in the Petrie Creek catchment.
Partners: Townsville Probation and Parole District Office, Palm Island Aboriginal council and Palm Island Community Justice Group.
Since December 2007, the Townsville district office has supervised 47 offenders working to tidy up Palm Island Airport, restore the foreshore and rejuvenate the cemetery.
Offenders’ duties have included clearing undergrowth to reduce fire hazards, mowing lawns, painting and planting trees.
In total, community service workers have completed 3,452 hours, equating to $52,480 worth of labour. In the meantime, they have changed the face of the tiny island and have contributed to better relations between the community and QCS.
Partners: Cleveland Probation and Parole District Office, Alexandra Hills Football Club
The Alexandra Hills Football Club community service project is one of the longest running and most successful in the Cleveland district.
Since offenders first started working on projects at the club in 1991, the not-for-profit organisation has used unpaid labour to construct a new building, grandstand and electronic scoreboard, as well as for general upkeep and grounds maintenance.
Club president Keith Surridge, who has been the project supervisor since inception, estimates community service workers have done more than 40,000 hours of work, with the financial benefit to the club about $600,000.
Partners: Burleigh Heads Probation and Parole District Office, Community Support Agency
Offenders have proved invaluable to the work of the Community Support Agency, a not-for-profit group whose mission is to help disadvantaged people in the community, including sole parents, the unemployed and the homeless.
Community service workers at the agency have helped with a variety of tasks and projects, including kitchen work and food preparation, the Hinze Dam Conservation Program, Currumbin Sanctuary rejuvenation and the Landcare Program. They also assist in the production of wheelchairs made for companies in the developing world.
Since October 2004, 206 offenders have worked a total of 11,735 hours worth $176,000.
Partners: Hervey Bay Probation and Parole District Office, Reuse and Recycle Group
Offenders have got their hands dirty to identify, sort and move large amounts of recycling for the Reuse and Recycle not-for-profit organisation in Hervey Bay for the past four years.
During that time, community service workers have performed 9,875 hours of unpaid work worth more than $148,000.
Their contribution has enabled the organisation to expand and take on extra recycling contracts in the region.
Partners: Thursday Island Probation and Parole District Office, Thursday Island TAFE
An innovative project has been operating for the past six years at Thursday Island TAFE, whereby supervisors both oversee community service work and encourage the offenders to enrol in college courses or traineeships that may help them.
Seven out of a total of 32 participants have studied at TAFE while carrying out their community service duties – which includes cleaning, grounds and building maintenance, and administration – when they are not studying.
Since 2002, offenders have completed more than 1860 hours of work, worth almost $28,000, and TAFE has been so pleased with their efforts that it has requested more community service workers at the site.
Last updated: 16 December 2013