Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Victoria’s volunteering organisations share in $6.3 million

Over 2,100 community organisations in Victoria will benefit from more than $6.3 million in Australian Government funding for volunteer grants.

This is part of the $21 million in Volunteer Grants which will go to over 7,200 community organisations across the country.

Under the program, grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 are provided to non-profit organisations.

Volunteers are the backbone of so many of our community groups and the non-profit sector. In Victoria there are more than 1.2 million volunteers.

Every day volunteers are out in their local communities working tirelessly to help the elderly, the sick and those who have hit hard times.

The Government values the enormous contribution volunteers make in our community and this funding will ease the financial pressure on non-profit organisations and volunteers.

In Victoria, the Volunteer Grants Program 2008 will assist organisations to buy small equipment and sporting items, to train volunteers, and to help with fuel costs.

Organisations to receive funding include Life Saving Victoria, the Country Fire Authority Lilydale and the Australian Breastfeeding Association.

The 78 branches of Life Saving Victoria will share in almost $250,000 of funding to buy first aid equipment and reimburse fuel costs for the organisations 15,760 volunteers.

This will allow Life Saving Victoria to continue providing the vital community service of volunteer beach patrols at more than 60 locations along Victoria’s 2,000 kilometres of coastline.

Life Saving Victoria’s mission is to prevent aquatic related death and injury in all Victorian communities by teaching water safety, swimming and resuscitation, and providing safe water environments.

The Country Fire Authority Lilydale responds to and manages bushfires, promotes understanding of bush and grass fires, and raises awareness of fire safety. With funding of $27,500 it will assist around 444 Country Fire Authority community volunteers across the Yarra Valley in Victoria – which is so important, especially at this time of year.

The Australian Breastfeeding Association is a voluntary organisation to support and educate mothers, using up-to-date research, practical support and understanding to help mothers with new born and young babies.

Breastfeeding groups provide help, support and friendship to other mothers. Funding of $84,579 will help the 833 community volunteers nationally who are on call for confidential counselling and support, and provide phone, email and face-to-face breastfeeding counselling.

The Volunteer Grants Program 2008 delivers on a Rudd Government election commitment.