5 September 2008 | Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens, Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector
Parliamentary Secretary for the Voluntary Sector, Senator Ursula Stephens, addressed the Volunteering Australia Conference on the Gold Coast last week, reaffirming the Rudd Government's commitment to supporting and promoting volunteering.
More than 500 people attended the three day Volunteering Australia Conference from 3 to 5 September, which had the theme 'Catching the new Wave'.
Dr Stephens outlined the Federal Government's priorities in enabling new waves of social innovation in Australia, through a National Strategy for Volunteering.
"I am currently engaged in developing a national strategy to find ways the Government can help volunteering to flourish," Dr Stephens said.
"The year 2011 will mark the tenth anniversary of the United Nations International Year for Volunteers in 2001, and Australia will join countries around the world in developing fresh ideas and proposals for volunteering to celebrate this occasion.
Dr Stephens also announced $64,000 in new funding for GoVolunteer, Australia's website for the placement of volunteers.
"GoVolunteer is a terrific online tool for those in the non-profit sector, individuals and business to register and find volunteering opportunities nationally.
"This $64,000 in new funding is another positive step towards finding innovative ways to promote volunteering. It is especially helpful for corporate partners who are keen to find meaningful opportunities to contribute to their community through corporate volunteering program."
Dr Stephens praised the work of volunteers, saying they are a significant part of the Government's Social Inclusion agenda.
"Every single day more than five million volunteers are giving their time, talents and expertise to their communities through everything from Surf Life Saving, volunteer rescue services, improving our heritage and environment, delivering meals on wheels, organising local sports and youth groups, and many other positive activities."
Today's announcement builds on the Rudd Government's strong support for volunteering, including the three-year $64 million Volunteer Grants Program, which is allowing community organisations to reimburse their fuel costs and helping them to pay for equipment.
The Government has also commissioned the Productivity Commission to construct a new tool to measure the contribution of the non-profit sector to communities and the economy, and is working with the States and Territories to address regulatory burdens on the sector.