The 2016 Census was released today, with data revealing that Australians are still engaged and committed to volunteering activities.

On Wednesday 11 October, Volunteering Queensland held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in which we elected our new Board members for 2018.

Volunteer Support Services: Building strong & resilient communities Volunteering Australia has made a 2017-18 Federal Pre-Budget Submission including a series of recommendations to further strengthen the Government’s commitment to volunteering, whilst also greatly strengthening the work of the sector to build strong and resilient communities.

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.

New ABS data shows volunteering rates in Australia are declining for the first time in almost 20 years with 75% of people surveyed saying they feel rushed or pressed for time. Results of the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2014 General Social Survey released yesterday provide a snapshot of Australia’s progress on aspects of wellbeing, such as life satisfaction and community participation, and reports that volunteering in Australia has fallen since 2010.

Conducted every five years, the Census is the largest form of information gathering in Australia. The Census tells us things about the way that every day Australians live, and helps us to plan for the future. Statistics tell us that every year over 6 million Australians volunteer – but we want to know if that’s the whole picture.  With the re-release of the National Definition of Volunteering in 2015, we looked deeper than ever before at the diverse ways in which people volunteer.

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.

Thank you to all Queensland candidates who took the pledge to Vote for Volunteering:  33 House of Representative Candidates 26 Senate Candidates View everyone who signed the pledge

Volunteering Australia and Volunteering Queensland welcome the news delivered by the Department of Social Services that funding for the Volunteer Management Program will be reinstated, following our Tower of Strength campaign.

An announcement today from the Department of Social Services that volunteer support services will no longer be eligible for their own pool of grants funding has disappointed Volunteering Australia, who say that the move demonstrates the Federal Government’s continued undervaluing of the role of volunteering in building strong and resilient communities.

National Student Volunteer Week (NSVW) will be held on 14-20 August 2017. The week promotes and celebrates student volunteering and will see a wide variety of events, activities, forums and awareness-raising campaigns led by higher education providers and schools nationwide. Events include volunteer expos, lunchtime panels, student volunteer of the year awards, blood drives, cupcake days, greening projects and video presentations!

The Hon Minister for Social Services Christian Porter MP, Deputy Chair to the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership has recently released the latest findings on business and individual giving and volunteering in two reports.

Ashley Fell was the guest keynote speaker at the Volunteering Queensland Annual General Meeting, held on Wednesday 11 October 2017. Ashley is a social researcher, TEDx speaker and as Head of Communications at the internationally recognised McCrindle, she understands the need for organisations to communicate with the emerging generations to effectively engage and motivate them. Her expertise is in how to communicate across generational barriers.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released a formal call for Australians to have their say on the data collected for volunteering and acts of giving.

The inaugural Backyard Legend Day, taking place on Sunday 16 October, is a community initiative that encourages Australians to volunteer to complete a household chore for someone who could really do with a bit of help around the house or yard: someone elderly, with a disability, sick or injured, a single parent or a struggling family.  Backyard Legend Day Ambassador, Mike Whitney, an Aussie legend himself, says he supports the campaign because it goes straight to the heart of Australia’s soul and our willingness to help other, less fortunate, members of the community. “Backyard Legend Day is all about the Australian community spirit, which is something that runs deep in our veins. It’s in our nature to rally behind anyone who genuinely needs a helping hand and, what might seem like a small thing to us, can be a huge support to someone else.” 

Poor mental health in the workplace is currently costing Australian businesses $11 billion a year as revealed by researchers at the University of Tasmania. With approximately 45% of Australians experiencing some sort of mental health issue in their lifetime, it is likely that at some point, every worker will be affected by mental illness, either directly or indirectly.

Volunteering Australia is delighted that a motion from Senator Louise Pratt today passed in the Senate. The motion calls on the government to recognise the importance of funding volunteer management services and Volunteering Australia’s campaign to retain funding for volunteer management as part of the Federal Budget. We thank Senator Louise Pratt and Senator Jacqui Lambie for their support.

Over 700 delegates met in Canberra, 6-8 April, at the principal Australian forum for not-for profit leaders, volunteer managers and policy contributors to come together to advance volunteering. Robyn Moore set the scene with an inspiring opening keynote that made delegates both laugh and cry. Our final keynote, Associate Professor Dr Thomas Nielsen, University of Canberra, left delegates with an understanding of why their role as a volunteer manager is key to creating meaningful happiness in peoples’ lives.

Since late 2013 Volunteering Australia has been challenging the concept of ‘what constitutes volunteering in contemporary Australia?’ The new definition follows a review that included the release of an issues paper, national stakeholder information sessions and an online survey to gauge community views. The result is a broader and more inclusive definition that reflects the diversity of volunteering activities undertaken nationally.

Volunteering Australia’s new National Standards for Volunteer Involvement were launched to mark the beginning of National Volunteer Week 2015, 11-17 May. The Federal Minister for Human Services, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, launched National Volunteer Week at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra. The new Standards incorporate significant changes to the original standards in order to reflect best practice in volunteer management in Australia’s current work environment.

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