The Value of Volunteering
Posted on Tuesday, 14 October 2008
Tertiary education institutions should promote volunteering for not-for-profit organisations as options for elective subjects, the Hon Judi Moylan MP, Federal Member for Pearce told Parliament yesterday.
Citing a suggestion included in the recent discussion paper by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family, Community, Housing and Youth, looking at volunteering in Australia and the impacts of emerging trends and challenges for the voluntary sector, as Deputy Committee Chair, Mrs Moylan said recognising unpaid work officially is a great step towards cementing a strong future for volunteers in Australia.
“For a long time volunteers have been considered the heart and soul of communities,” she said.
“Now their efforts have been recognised as having positive economic and social benefits.”
During a forum where evidence was heard from a variety of stakeholders in Australia’s volunteer sector, the committee learnt that about thirty per cent of the Australians volunteer equating to about $42 billion per annum, with far-reaching community benefits.
“Corporations are increasingly recognising the benefit of encouraging their employees to take regular paid work time to volunteer and this practice should be more widely fostered.” Mrs. Moylan said.
Among identified changes to the voluntary sector were the motivations for volunteers to donate their time and skills.
Despite this difference, Mrs Moylan said it is important for government to assist the volunteer sector to adapt and grasp these changes.
“Volunteering is about a sense of community responsibility and many people derive a great deal of personal satisfaction from contributing to their community” she said.
“The role of all levels of government is to generate interest in volunteering by formally recognising those involved and promoting dialogue between corporate business and the volunteer sector.”
“This would not only promote the growing trend of corporate volunteering it would also open the doors for the volunteer sector to an alternative funding source and skills-set.”
A copy of the report is available from http://www.aph.gov.au/HOUSE/committee/fchy/reports.htm