Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Petrol for volunteers, Child Protection Week


JENNY MACKLIN: Thanks very much for being here and first of all if I can thank all the staff here at Caltex for having us here today and making sure that we’ve got a safe environment in which to do this announcement. We really appreciate it.

And to all the people from Red Cross as well who do such a wonderful job in so many different ways, but what we’re here today to really thank them for is the way in which they support so many people through our community and organise so many volunteers. And we’ve got some great volunteers with us today who are delivering some of the 15 million Meals on Wheels that get delivered around Australia every year. So congratulations to all of the volunteers, but particularly today to Red Cross for the great job that they do.

It’s terrific to be here with my Parliamentary colleague and ministerial colleague Justine Elliot, the Minister for Ageing. So many of the people who need the support and get the support of volunteers are older Australians, and Justine’s just been out with so many of our volunteers celebrating the delivery of Meals on Wheels, that we thought it was appropriate to do this together today.

Today’s a really special announcement that is going to just make that little bit of difference to the millions of volunteers who are doing such a great job in our community. The Government is providing an extra $15 million over the next three years to boost the money that we provide to volunteer organisations. So this year there will be $21 million made available for volunteer organisations. For the first time, honouring one of our election commitments, we’re going to make extra money available to voluntary organisations so that they can help volunteers like the guys that are with us today, with the cost of their petrol.

We know the price of petrol is going up, we know that volunteers really give so much already and this is just a small way that the Government can both say thank you to the volunteers and provide a little bit of financial support to help with the cost of petrol.

The applications for this money open very shortly. There’ll be ads in the paper on Saturday so I’d encourage all volunteer organisations around Australia to apply. The applications close in October, on 17 October, and we’ll get the money out the door as quickly as possible so that volunteers can get this extra special help that they need.

These volunteer grants will also be available for small equipment, the sort of things that voluntary organisations need. It might be an urn for their kitchen, it might be some other little piece of equipment that could just make the organisation’s job that much easier.

So please apply for these grants, they’re there for you to help with the great job that you do in our community, helping so many people whether they’re the elderly, home bound, people with disabilities, people who’ve fallen on hard times, whoever it might be. A very big thank you from us to all the volunteers and we hope this money will help in the great job that you do.

QUESTION: How much is the petrol grants [indistinct]

JENNY MACKLIN: It’s $15 million over three years. It was announced – the money was in the Budget this year so an extra $5 million this year on top of the small equipment grants money that’s already available.

QUESTION: Jenny, just another issue. Next week…

JENNY MACKLIN: Hang on, can we just see if anyone else might want to ask something about this good story.

QUESTION: Is it new money?

JENNY MACKLIN: Yes, it is. The petrol money is new money, money announced in the Budget. It’s money that we said in the – before the election that we would make available. So we’re honouring that election commitment.

QUESTION: Did the previous government not pay for the petrol of volunteers?

JENNY MACKLIN: The didn’t make a special allocation for petrol. Some community organisations like Red Cross do make a contribution to the cost of petrol for volunteers but this is additional money recognising that the cost of petrol’s really gone up. So specific extra allocation to help with the cost of petrol. Okay.

QUESTION: On National Child Protection Week next week, what are you hoping it will achieve?

JENNY MACKLIN: One of the very important messages that the National Association for the Protection of Child Abuse – Protection Against Child Abuse is running – they’re running this very important campaign under the message, children see, children do. And it’s really saying to all of us as adults, remember that children imitate what we do. So in all of the way that we behave, with each other, on the road, the way we behave as parents, remember that children imitate us and learn from us.

So we – all of us as adults and especially as parents have a responsibility to make sure that children learn how to behave in a proper and respectful way to each other by our behaviour. So it’s a great opportunity for all of us to really remember that and to improve our behaviour in front of our children.

Okay, thank you.