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Media Release by Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens

Volunteering Policy Advisory Group Fourth Meeting

The fourth meeting of the Volunteering Policy Advisory Group was held on Thursday 6 May 2010.

The Advisory Group is providing expert advice on volunteering and helping develop Australia’s National Volunteering Vision and Strategy.

The Strategy will outline a vision for volunteering in Australia and a framework for achieving that vision.

The group welcomed Ms Dimity Fifer, CEO of Australian Volunteers International, as a new member. Ms Fifer’s role in the group will assist in identifying key issues that impact on volunteers both globally and locally and ensure the National Volunteering Vision and Strategy is relevant to those who volunteer outside Australia’s borders.

The group discussed the evolving nature of volunteering in Australia and the need this generates for innovation in supporting volunteering. The group agreed that there is a role not only for government, but also for not-for-profit organisations and the corporate sector in developing and implementing innovative approaches.

The group emphasised the importance of the National Volunteering Vision and Strategy being forward thinking and the need to continue public dialogue about what volunteering in Australia will look like in the coming years. No longer is volunteering thought of as simply one person helping another – it is a two way process which benefits everybody involved.

The Strategy needs to have a vision that reflects the dynamism and diversity of volunteering and acknowledge its important role in shaping the nation.

The group also consolidated its views on key themes for inclusion in the National Volunteering Vision and Strategy, including risk management for volunteers and volunteer-based organisations, recognition of volunteer efforts and innovative approaches to overcome barriers to volunteering.

Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens thanked the group for their valuable contributions over the past six months in developing the framework of the National Volunteering Vision and Strategy.

The group will meet for the final time in July 2010.

Further information about the group and the progress of the National Volunteering Vision and Strategy is available on the Social Inclusion website.