The Albanese Labor Government will continue its commitment to those who give up their time to help improve their communities through an additional $4 million funding boost for Volunteering Resource Centres.
The funds will be released over two years from 2022-23 and 2023-24 and will enable Volunteering Resource Centres nationally to review and adapt their services to align with changes made in 2021 under the previous Liberal National Party government to the Commonwealth funded Volunteer Management Activity.
Volunteer Management Activity – administered through State and Territory volunteering peak bodies in partnership with local community organisations – supports volunteer involving organisations to effectively recruit, train, support, and retain volunteers, and breaks down barriers to volunteering.
The funding boost, to assist up to 37 centres nationally, coincides with the release of the National Strategy for Volunteering which will work to improve support across the volunteering sector in Australia.
The Strategy, developed by Volunteering Australia, is a blueprint for the future of the sector, enabling a shared vision and desired outcomes for volunteering in Australia over the next ten years.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said the introduction of the Strategy will address the increasing demand for volunteers and boost sustainability in the sector.
“Volunteers offer the invaluable asset of time, contributing their knowledge and experiences to activities and causes out of kindness and a sense of community,” Minister Rishworth said.
“The sector is integral to the fabric of our nation.
“The National Volunteering Strategy is the blueprint for out how we will create a future in which volunteering can continue to be a rewarding experience for those who volunteer and for those in our community who benefit from it.”
Australia is facing a declining rate of volunteering and an overwhelming need for more volunteers in the sector. The reasons for this are complex and multifaceted.
“We know the Strategy will not provide all the answers to the problems we face, but it will provide expert guidance to face these challenges head on,” Minister Rishworth said.
The first year of the Strategy’s implementation will lay the foundations for success over the ten-year plan.
In 2023, the following initiatives will take place:
- Co-design of a three-year action plan
- Development of a monitoring and evaluation framework
- Development of a governance blueprint, and
- Development of a model for shared accountability and implementation
The Government is also providing $367,000 to Volunteering Australia to coordinate the implementation of the National Volunteering Strategy and $240,000 over the next three years for National Volunteer Week 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Volunteering Australia CEO Mark Pearce said the Strategy was co-designed by the entire volunteering ecosystem.
“The National Strategy for Volunteering was designed and will be owned by all of us. It presents our collective vision for a future where volunteering is at the heart of Australian communities,” Minister Rishworth said.
“As far as we are aware, this is the first time globally that a project of national significance has been undertaken in this way. We are grateful to the Department of Social Services for their partnership on this historic piece of work and we thank the thousands of stakeholders who contributed their time and expertise.”
For further information on the National Strategy for Volunteering, visit the National Strategy for Volunteering website National Strategy for Volunteering – (volunteeringstrategy.org.au)