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Indigenous leader, Shane Phillips who helped develop the Clean slate without prejudice program in Redfern, New South Wales (NSW) has been awarded Australia's Local Hero 2013 in the Australian of the Year Awards. Mr Phillips is recognized for his work with the Redfern community and is credited with improving the relationship between the community and the police. Since the introduction in 2009 of the Clean slate without prejudice program, run in collaboration with the police, the number of robberies committed by local youth has declined by 80%.
The forty-eight-year-old father of three, a respected member of the Redfern community, received the honour at the Australian of the Year awards ceremony in Canberra.
‘It's a community at work,' he said. ‘We're not being reactive, we're being proactive. This goes out to a lot of kids, and our Elders, who have written themselves off or have been written off. Anything's possible! You are the answer.'
Mr Phillips said he wanted to embark on a journey with the rest of the nation on the mentoring program he operates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
‘I am going to teach our kids to be surrounded by people who are positive and constructive and strategic and to help them with their lives,' he said.
Mr Phillips is also the fulltime Chief Executive Officer of the Tribal Warrior Association, a non-profit organisation directed by Aboriginal people and elders that offers training for employment and helps at the grassroots level with emergency relief for struggling families.
Source: National Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation (NACCHO)