Volunteering Australia is the national peak body committed to advancing volunteering in the Australian community. In the lead up to the 2019 Federal Election, Volunteering Australia calls for all parties to adopt a policy platform that responds to the needs of the volunteering sector and grows a culture of giving in Australia.
Volunteering Australia’s key policy proposals centre on three priority areas:
- The need for all parties to value the role of volunteering peaks, volunteers, Volunteer Involving Organisations and Volunteering Support Services in supporting and strengthening communities;
- For all parties to commit to investing in the future of volunteering in Australia and the subsequent benefits it provides to the community; and
- For all parties to commit to amplifying the positive gains already being achieved by the sector.
These policies address current issues affecting the volunteering sector and acknowledge that the sector is a cross-portfolio, whole-of-community activity, with social, cultural and environmental benefits, as well as a significant impact to Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Invest in Volunteering
Key Policy Proposals
A Strong Volunteering Infrastructure
- Federal recognition for volunteering that includes strengthening the national peak body.
- The repositioning of volunteering to Prime Minister and Cabinet.
- The appointment of an Assistant Minister for Volunteering.
- The establishment of a National Volunteering Strategy.
- Adoption of Volunteering Australia’s definition of volunteering across Government.
Grants and Funding
- Five-year funding contracts for community sector funding (with the application of indexation) to ensure fiscal certainty for volunteer programs.
- A commitment to the continuation of the ERO supplementation where affected grants rise to incorporate the supplementation.
- Ensure volunteering is recognised and resourced in core services (such as mental health and the NDIS).
Volunteering Rights and Protections
- Provide stronger protections for volunteers in Commonwealth legislation.
- The establishment of a national service to provide information, advice and referrals on volunteer rights
- Harmonised Working with Children Checks (WWCCs) scheme, with a view to expanding the scheme nationally to include all vulnerable people.
- A review of the stringent National Police Check Identity Proofing Requirement.
A Pathway to Employment
- Redesign of the punitive welfare to work system.
- Invest in volunteering as a pathway to employment (including digital volunteering platforms)
- Fund Volunteering Support Services to place participants in volunteer roles.
Invest in Volunteering
- A restoration of the Volunteer Grants funding to 2010 levels at $21 million p.a. (currently $10 million p.a.).
National Volunteer Week
- Allocation of $250,000 p.a. to support Volunteering Australia to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of Australia’s volunteers through National Volunteer Week.
- Commitment to ongoing, designated (indexed) funding for Volunteering Support Services post-2021.
- Funding to develop an Application Programming Interface or ‘API’ to automatically connect the Volunteer Management Database VIKTOR to the Data Exchange (DEX) and remove duplicative reporting.
- Invest in Volunteering Support Services to create and manage structured volunteering programs for use by schools and Volunteer Involving Organisations.
Disaster Management and Climate Change
- Support community sector organisations to respond to climate change, including training for all workers (including volunteers).
- Investment in existing volunteering platforms that manage spontaneous volunteers during and after disasters.
- Updating the National Climate Resilience Adaptation Strategy 2015 to identify the role of volunteers.
- A national campaign to support and boost volunteer numbers, particularly in the high-demand community services.
A Blueprint in the Sector
- Work collaboratively with the not-for-profit and charitable sector to develop a blueprint for the sector that includes extensive consultation, economic modelling of future scenarios, strategies to respond to emerging opportunities, risk and limitations.
- ‘Fix fundraising’ under Australian Consumer Law to ensure a nationally consistent, fit-for-purpose fundraising regime.
Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership
- Restructure the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership to address the current imbalance in representation between philanthropic giving and volunteering, allow the volunteering sector to have greater input, and support the sector on disaggregated data collection in relation to volunteering.