Volunteering Australia and the State and Territory volunteering peak bodies have serious concerns about the new process introduced to administer 2019-20 Volunteer Grants. We are calling on the Federal Government to commit to a transparent evaluation of the revised approach and to review the administration of the program in response to evaluation findings.
There are two main concerns with the new process: 1) the potential risks associated with Members of Parliament acting as gatekeepers to the funds; and 2) the ‘first in, best dressed’ assessment of applications that has been adopted by the government’s Community Grants Hub.
As stated in our Pre-Budget submission, Volunteering Australia and the State and Territory volunteering peak bodies remain concerned that this vital support for Australia’s volunteers has been subject to ongoing funding cuts and calls on the government to return funding to 2010 levels or $21 million per annum.
Volunteering Australia will continue to monitor the application process and gather community concerns. However, given the serious risks and concerns that have already come to light, Volunteering Australia and the State and Territory volunteering peak bodies are calling on the government to commit to undertaking an evaluation of the new process, to publishing that evaluation, and to reviewing the grant administration if the evaluation outcomes reveal that the process is discriminatory, politically-biased or has resulted in additional administrative burdens for applicants.
Volunteering Australia and the State and Territory volunteering peak bodies continue to urge government to increase funding for the Volunteer Grant program given the continued high demand for these funds and the positive impact they make on volunteering effectiveness.
Read the full position statement.
 The assessment guidelines state that the 2019-20 Grants program may be evaluated to see how well the outcomes and objectives have been achieved, not that it will be evaluated.