Just like we banded together as the Mud Army through the 2011 floods – we need to band together right now. Which is why the Queensland Government is calling on all Queenslanders to join the Care Army.

The Care Army is made up of everyday Queenslanders who want to help older people living in the community who may not have friends, family or neighbours who are able to support them during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Volunteering Queensland is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’ve heard from volunteers that they are increasingly concerned about the spread of the rapidly evolving COVID-19. Some of the questions we’re hearing are:

  • Should I continue volunteering at this time?
  • When should I not volunteer?
  • Can I volunteer from home?
  • How can I help with the COVID-19 response?
  • Citizen Self-activation/ Community Helpers
  • Centrelink-approved volunteering activities - has COVID-19 changed by obligations?

This article is intended to answer your questions, offering recommendations to keep you safe and pathways for you to still to be involved in your community during these unsettling times.

Volunteering Queensland is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’ve heard from our members and volunteer-involving organisations that they are feeling increasingly uncertain and anxious about the spread of the rapidly evolving COVID-19. Some of the questions we’re hearing are:

  • How do we ensure the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and the people we serve?
  • How can we ensure our operations and vital work is not severely impacted?
  • What do we need to communicate to our stakeholders?

We understand your concerns as they are our concerns too. This is a time to be informed and prepared. This article is intended to help you identify precautions, guide difficult discussions, plan what steps you may need to take to ensure your business continuity, and monitor and reduce your risk.

As many of our fellow Australians and their communities continue to be impacted by the devastating fires and begin to adjust to the reality of their loss and long road to recovery and regrowth, we thank you for your concern and care. Our hearts and thoughts continue to go out to everyone affected. We are grateful to the thousands of dedicated, highly trained emergency services personnel working tirelessly to respond to these disasters as well as the countless volunteers and Australian and international Defence Force personnel working to support recovery efforts.

If you are in a fire-affected area please look after the safety of yourself and your family, friends, neighbours and local community first. 

At this time the best action you can take is to stop and listen to and follow the directions of trusted sources including authorities. They will let you know what the best course of action is both now and going forward. 

Volunteering is a very good way to help in times of need, but it is important for you to be mindful to always stop and listen first. This will ensure the right help is given at the right time in the right place. Remember that additional volunteers are unlikely to be engaged during or immediately after a disaster, with volunteering more likely to be needed in the long-term recovery.

Read more on how you can support those impacted by the destructive fires.

Volunteering Australia and the State and Territory volunteering peak bodies have serious concerns about the new process introduced to administer 2019-20 Volunteer Grants. We are calling on the Federal Government to commit to a transparent evaluation of the revised approach and to review the administration of the program in response to evaluation findings.

The Australian Government has opened applications for its 2019-20 Volunteer Grants. These Volunteer Grants aim to support the efforts of Australia’s volunteers as well as to encourage and increase participation in volunteering. The grants provide small amounts of money that organisations and community groups can use to help their volunteers.

In 1970, a group of women from Los Angeles, California and the people they encountered while volunteering, shared a vision to elevate and empower the communities of volunteers that exist around the world. They believed that it is through volunteering that we can “build bridges of international understanding”. With this inspired idea, they hosted the first ever world volunteer conference LIVE (Learning through International Volunteer Effort), bringing together volunteers from all over the world. That conference was the birthplace of what soon after became the International Association for Volunteer Effort (IAVE).

Volunteering Australia & State and Territory Peak Volunteering Bodies Response to Australian Government Compensation Scheme

Volunteering Australia understands that the Australian Government’s compensation scheme for emergency service volunteers is a response to the current 2019-20 bushfire crisis and is not a precedent for permanent payments. However, given the concerning trend of falling numbers of emergency service volunteers, increased consideration needs to be given to such matters as the composition and structure of the emergency management workforce, in particular how volunteers are engaged, resourced and valued.