Media Release by Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens

Recognising volunteers in South Adelaide

Ursula Stephens, today addressed the Southern Adelaide Volunteer Award ceremony at the Hackham Football Club.

Senator Stephens said volunteers are vital to communities and deserve our recognition.

"Today was an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the significant contributions and achievements of these local heroes who so generously give of their time and talents to the community," Senator Stephens said.

"Volunteers are the backbone of many community and non-profit organisations, providing services which would otherwise have to be paid for or left undone, allowing organisations to allocate their resources elsewhere.

"The Australian Bureau of Statistics found that more than 5.2 million people aged 18 and over, volunteered in Australia during 2006-2007, including more than 2.4 million volunteers in the non-profit sector. It estimated the economic value of volunteering at around at around $42 billion each year.

"Volunteers play a crucial role in the Australian Government’s vision of an inclusive Australian community.

"They reach out to people on the fringes of our society and help build their sense of belonging, their self confidence and help people fully participate in social and economic life.

"The Government recognises how crucial volunteers are, and has invested considerably in supporting volunteers and the organisations which rely on them.

"The Volunteer Initiative over the next two years is providing $10.3 million to 50 volunteer resource centres to train and manage volunteers.

"Further to this, on 14 August the Government announced a $21 million grants round where non-profit organisations supported by volunteers can apply for up to $5,000 to purchase equipment and cover the cost of petrol.

"The Volunteer Grants Program assists community organisations with funding for equipment and facilities to directly assist volunteers, such as tools, computers, microwaves, kettles, sporting equipment, uniforms and the reimbursement of fuel costs.

"I would like to congratulate the recipients of today’s awards, but also all the volunteers in South Adelaide for their generosity and commitment to their community."

More information on the Volunteer Grants