Media Release by Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens

Volunteering ministers meet for the first time

Senator Ursula Stephens, is leading the way in developing a National Volunteering Strategy.

Today Senator Stephens met with State and Territory Ministers to work collaboratively towards a National Volunteering Strategy, which will formally recognise the importance of volunteering in Australia and outline the Australian Government’s commitments to supporting and encouraging Australia’s diverse volunteers.

The Strategy will be released in 2011 in time to mark the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Year of Volunteering.

Senator Stephens said volunteers are crucial to the wellbeing of our society.

“The Australian and State and Territory governments are strongly committed to working in collaboration to promote and celebrate volunteers.

“All levels of government recognise and support their volunteers in a variety of ways and the purpose of working together on the strategy is to better align these efforts and to share best practice.

“Volunteering delivers a number of key social and economic benefits including creating social cohesion, contributing to community resilience and supporting services that meet the needs of communities.

“They also play a significant economic role, with voluntary work contributing approximately 713 million hours to the community worth approximately $42 billion to the economy.

Ministers agreed to meet again to progress their collaborative work on a National Volunteering Strategy.