14 December 2011 | The Centre for Volunteering
The Centre for Volunteering welcomes today's reversal of the requirement for Federal Government employees to seek authorisation to participate in volunteer activities in their own time.
Lynne Dalton, CEO, The Centre for Volunteering, says "whilst this is a sensible decision, it does highlight the issue of volunteers needing to be confident that organisations they volunteer for are appropriate. The current lack of investment by the Federal Government remains a concern not only for volunteers themselves but also for Volunteer Referral Services attempting to assist volunteers into suitable opportunities."
The recent Federal Government's Volunteering Strategy indicated that five million dollars would be invested annually in volunteer referral agencies throughout the country. This investment is entirely inadequate to ensure people who wish to volunteer are volunteering for organisations that do not place the volunteer, their family or their communities at risk.
The benefit of finding a volunteer opportunity through an organisation which is assessed as appropriate, safe and authentic in terms of its purpose and activity is what makes Volunteer Referral Services a vital part of the process.
If Government invested more in such referral agencies throughout Australia, they would not have even needed to contemplate assessing the worthiness of organisations that their staff wish to volunteer for.
The Centre for Volunteering calls on the Federal Government to review its level of commitment to the resourcing of Volunteer Referral Agencies in order to overcome its concerns about the activity of its staff and also the concerns of the general community about which organisations they should offer their time, skills and knowledge to as a volunteer.
Read the Sydney Morning Herald's story announcing the policy change, 10 December:
Public servants told to seek approval to volunteer.