Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Helping volunteers pay for petrol

Not-for-profit organisations can receive up to $2,500 to help pay for their volunteers’ petrol bills, as part of the Australian Government’s $21 million Volunteer Grants Program 2008.

Under the Program, grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 can also be used to purchase equipment, including computers, tools, air conditioners and sporting equipment.

School Parents and Citizens Associations (P&Cs) will also have the opportunity to apply for funding along with other not-for-profit organisations.

Volunteers are the backbone of so many of our community groups and not-for-profit organisations.

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

As well as freely giving their time, many volunteers also end up out of pocket.

A major expense for volunteers can be the cost of petrol used to undertake voluntary activities. Over the last five years, volunteers’ petrol costs have risen by 40 per cent – a significant burden for not-for-profit organisations and their volunteers.

Today’s announcement delivers on a Rudd Government election commitment and is a modest measure to help ease financial pressures on not-for-profit organisations.

This new measure will assist volunteers who use their vehicles to support people in the community for activities like delivering meals, taking disadvantaged children to weekend sport and visiting the elderly.

Voluntary and other charitable organisations can apply for funding to contribute to the reimbursement of fuel costs incurred by their volunteers.

These measures are aimed at helping community organisations and the more than five million volunteers who give up 700 million hours of their time to keep them going.

Applications open on Saturday 6 September and close on Friday 17 October. Organisations will receive funding by the end of the year.

More information on the program, including application forms and guidelines, is available at FaHCSIA website or by calling the toll-free hotline on 1800 183 374.