Volunteering – a tower of strength in our communities
Volunteering Australia’s tower of strength petition, campaigning for the retention of designated funding for Volunteering Support Services was tabled in the Senate on 21 June 2017 by Labor Senator for Western Australia Louise Pratt. Volunteering Australia was delighted to visit Parliament House in Canberra, where we had the opportunity to witness Senator Pratt address the Senate on the importance of volunteering. The Senator also acknowledged the vital role that Volunteering Support Services play in our communities, discussing the campaign and the petition.
Thank you very much to the volunteering sector, Senator Pratt, members of Parliament and the wider community for your support of the campaign!
Volunteering continues to play a role central to our identity as a nation
Volunteering is a tower of strength in our communities with 5.8 million Australians or 31 per cent of the population volunteering, making an estimated annual contribution of $290 billion to our economic and social good.
Volunteering touches every section of Australian society including, but not limited to education, emergency services, sport and recreation, arts and heritage as well as the social services. The far-reaching contribution volunteering makes builds strong and resilient Australian communities.
The redesign of the Strong and Resilient Communities grants to take effect from 1 January 2018 does not include a volunteer management stream of funding specifically allocated to Volunteering Support Services meaning volunteering will be forced to compete alongside other worthwhile projects from across the community services for broader pools of funding that respond to themes of disadvantage.
These proposed changes to funding have the potential to rip the heart out of place based Volunteering Support Services. This year, the Strong and Resilient Communities grants are delivering $5.7 million in funding to on-the-ground programs as part of the volunteer management stream of funding. To lose this would be an enormous blow to communities who rely on the volunteering programs that this funding delivers.
*Volunteering Support Services (also known as Volunteer Resource Centres or Volunteering Support Organisations) provide place-based volunteering support services to volunteers and volunteer involving organisations in their locality.
A vital role
Volunteering Support Services promote, resource and support volunteering in local communities across Australia. They provide infrastructure in communities to lead, enable and build capacity to recruit and retain volunteers in a wide variety of organisations and services.
The role of Volunteering Support Services in connecting and empowering local communities is vital. For the first time in almost twenty years, the number of people formally volunteering in Australia was reported as declining in 2014, down to 31% from 36% in 2012. Volunteers are also being recruited to support the work of the Government and its policy priorities in more and increasingly innovative ways including supporting the NDIS.
The National Advocacy Campaign aims to promote the vital role Volunteering Support Services play in promoting safe, effective and sustainable volunteering programs and the need for the Federal Government to continue to retain designated funding for Volunteering Support Services.
The campaign so far…
Volunteering Australia has made a 2017-18 Federal Pre-Budget Submission including a series of recommendations to further strengthen the Government’s commitment to volunteering, whilst also greatly strengthening the work of the sector to build strong and resilient communities. Volunteering continues to… Read More
DSS Funding Changes show Volunteer Support Services continue to be undervalued by the Federal Government
An announcement today from the Department of Social Services that volunteer support services will no longer be eligible for their own pool of grants funding has disappointed Volunteering Australia, who say that the move demonstrates the Federal Government’s continued undervaluing… Read More
Today, on Valentine’s Day, Volunteering Australia and our State and Territory Peak partners hosted the ‘Share the Love’ for Volunteer Support Services event at Australian Parliament House to kick off a national volunteering advocacy campaign. Minister for Social Services Christian… Read More
Volunteering Australia is delighted that a motion from Senator Louise Pratt today passed in the Senate. The motion calls on the government to recognise the importance of funding volunteer management services and Volunteering Australia’s campaign to retain funding for volunteer management… Read More
Late last night Senator Louise Pratt asked questions at Senate Estimates in relation to volunteer support services and the redesign of the Strengthening Communities grants program into the new Strong and Resilient Communities (SARC) grants program. We thank Louise Pratt… Read More
Federal Member for Bruce Julian Hill MP addressed the House today, discussing the value of Volunteering Support Services and the immense contributions volunteers make to the community. He also referenced Volunteering Australia’s budget statement, and that volunteering has been overlooked… Read More
Last night Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie MP addressed the House discussing the valuable contribution volunteers make to the community in South Australia. She also discussed the impact of the redesign of the Strengthening Communities grants program… Read More
Volunteering Australia was pleased to visit Parliament House in Canberra yesterday, where we had the opportunity to witness Labor Senator for Western Australia Louise Pratt address the Senate on the importance of volunteering. The Senator also acknowledged the vital role that Volunteering Support Services play… Read More