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.

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.

Volunteering is integral to the Australian way of life, our quality of living and the ability of various organisations and governments to serve our communities.

Volunteering Australia welcomes the opportunity to provide a submission to advise the Treasury on how best to resource volunteering as it prepares the 2020-21 Federal Budget.

The historic Queensland Human Rights Act will be introduced from 01 January 2020. The Act is intended to protect and respect the freedom, equality and dignity of every person in Queensland. It is also a vehicle to help deliver better services and support for all Queenslanders, especially for those experiencing vulnerabilities in our society.