Volunteering Australia and Volunteering Queensland are alarmed to learn of the allegations of sexual misconduct and bullying against former volunteers in the ACT Greens during the federal and local election campaigns last year.

The national, state and territory volunteering peak bodies are concerned at the lack of consistency and clarity around volunteer rights more broadly across the country. These allegations reinforce the need for robust mechanisms to be established to enshrine and protect the rights of volunteers in the workplace.

Volunteering Queensland's 2017 State Volunteering Conference was a resounding success, enabling volunteer-involving organisations to advance their cause, inspiring programs and people, and increasing overall knowledge and understanding of the volunteering industry.

On 8 and 9 June 2017, over 80 delegates from across Queensland came together for the inaugural State Volunteering Conference. The delegates were presented with a wealth of information, strategic and practical advice, support and encouragement through engaging presentations by renowned experts, panel discussions, interactive workshops and networking opportunities that prompted conversation on the volunteering climate. Many of the conference presenters travelled far and wide, from interstate or overseas, to share their knowledge and insights to better the future of volunteering throughout Queensland and the wider Australian community.

We would like to extend our gratitude to all of our wonderful and inspiring dignitaries, delegates, presenters, panel members, facilitators, board, staff and volunteers who made the conference such a huge triumph. And, a big thank you to our conference sponsor Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

The blue card system, a key preventative and monitoring network of individuals who work with children and young people in Queensland, is changing! The system aims to mitigate harm to children by contributing to the creation of safe and supportive environments and is founded on the principle that children have a fundamental right to be protected, while receiving services that are essential to their development.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have launched a national public consultation on statistics for volunteering and giving to clarify the data needs for information on volunteering and giving activity. The Australian Census has included an unchanged volunteering question in the past three Censuses. In light of this, the ABS is considering questions for Census 2021 and reviewing the questions accordingly.

Volunteering Australia appreciates the opportunity to provide a response on statistics for volunteering and giving activity. We would like to acknowledge the importance of volunteering to the Australian communities’ workforce participation, inclusion and social cohesion. There would be a gap in skills and services without Australia’s volunteering sector.