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Media Release by The Hon Brendan O’Connor MP

Helping those who help others in Queensland

Local community organisations in Queensland are among 4,800 across Australia to benefit from the Gillard Government’s $16 million Volunteer Grants 2012 initiative.

Minister for Housing and Homeless Brendan O’Connor today visited Mobile Active Recreation and Creative Community Art Space (MARACCAS) in Fortitude Valley, one of 1,003 Queensland organisations sharing in more than $3.4 million to support the work of volunteers.

“We know that volunteers give their time, energy and expertise to support our community,” Mr O’Connor said.

“They are at the heart of our community organisations, helping some of our most vulnerable, including people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

“The Government’s investment is delivering much-needed support to local volunteers, including a range of local groups such as Lions Clubs, St Vincent de Paul, Country Women’s Association, St John Ambulance, SES, Meals on Wheels and the Australian Red Cross.

“Organisations will receive a grant of between $1,000 and $5,000 to contribute to their volunteers’ fuel costs and purchase much-needed equipment.

“MARACCAS will receive $2,249 to purchase a video/slide/data projector, first aid kit and a camera.

“The work the MARACCAS volunteers do to promote self-esteem in young people through mentorship and developing creative expression is inspiring.

“I know this grant will help to develop the great programs they offer.”

Other recipients include the Kath Dickson Family Centre, which will receive $1,527 for a dishwasher, and $5,000 for Acacia Ridge Meals on Wheels Incorporated for fuel cost reimbursement.

Grants will also help with the transport costs of volunteers with disability who need to use public transport or taxis as part of their volunteering role.

“Volunteers continue to make a significant social and economic contribution to Australian society, contributing approximately $14.6 billion to the not-for-profit sector each year,” Mr O’Connor said.

“Across the country, more than 166,000 volunteers will benefit from the Volunteer Grants.

“The Gillard Government is committed to supporting our army of volunteers and this year’s volunteer grants will help them to undertake their selfless work in supporting local communities.”

To find out more about Volunteer Grants 2012 visit www.fahcsia.gov.au or call 1800 183 374.