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Volunteering Australia has provided a summary analysis of the key budget measures from the 2017-18 Federal Budget and how it will impact the volunteering sector. We are disappointed that volunteering has been overlooked in this budget.
In particular, Volunteering Australia outlined a number of recommendations in their 2017-18 Federal Pre-Budget Submission following extensive ongoing consultation with volunteers, volunteer managers, volunteer-involving organisations, and volunteering support services. However, these measures have been overlooked in this budget.
Some highlights outlined in the budget that relate to the volunteering sector include:
- From 1 January 2018, the Strong and Resilient Communities Activity will replace the current Strengthening Communities Activity.
- $10.0 million will be allocated to Volunteer Grants in 2017-18.
- The Government will provide $84.1 million over five years from 2016-17 to consolidate seven working age payments and allowances into a new JobSeeker Payment. Under this measure, there will also be a strengthening of the participation requirement of job seekers. Part of this equitable participation framework, to apply from 20 September 2018, will include aligning the participation requirements for recipients aged 30 to 49 with those for recipients under 30. Recipients aged 55 to 59 will only be able to meet half of their participation requirements through volunteering, while recipients aged between 60 and the Age Pension age will have a new activity requirement of 10 hours per fortnight that can be met through volunteering.
- There are a range of measures in this budget targeted at transitioning people to work, and providing them with valuable employment skills or work experience, to boost their employability. Volunteering Australia would like to reiterate our position that volunteering is a valuable pathway to employment, allowing people to develop personally and professionally. We look forward to working with the Government on the measures outlined in the Budget.
- Funding for Community Development Grants Fund, with to date, assured funding of more than $941.2 million to more than 750 projects including more than 450 projects from the 2016 Federal Election.
- A $19.6 million investment in community broadcasting in the 2017-18 period via the Community Broadcasting Program.
- A $29.6 million investment in 2017-18 that will allocate learning tools and resources, including assistance for community organisations located in metropolitan and regional areas to provide one-on-one tutoring and support to older Australians.