The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound and ongoing impact on volunteering in Australia. Based on the experience of the volunteering ecosystem, including the state and territory volunteering peak bodies, volunteer involving organisations, volunteering support services, and volunteers themselves, we argue that volunteering has been frequently overlooked in the government response to COVID-19.
In a submission to the Independent Panel Review on COVID-19, we explore the policy lessons of the pandemic and provide recommendations to aid the recovery of volunteering and the essential services that depend on it.
- Include volunteering clearly and consistently in official guidance and messaging.
- Engage actively with the volunteering ecosystem to plan for volunteer involvement in response to crises.
- Provide appropriate and ongoing support to volunteer involving organisations to meet heightened demand for services and to engage volunteers safely.
- Resource efforts to reinvigorate volunteering in Australia.