Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Celebrating our volunteers

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today marked International Volunteer Day 2003 by announcing funding of almost $1million to be distributed as a one-off payment to volunteer resource centres, currently funded under the Voluntary Work Initiative.

Senator Patterson said the funding will provide significant assistance to existing services.

“The funds will also be used to assist in the development of an extra 18 volunteer resource centres across Australia – six of which will be in regional, rural and remote areas,” she said.

Mrs Sha Cordingley, Chief Executive Officer of Volunteering Australia, welcomed the announcement.

“This funding recognises the valuable service that Volunteer Resource Centres around Australia continue to provide, especially in assisting Centrelink customers find suitable Voluntary Work placements,” she said.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, nearly 4.4 million adult Australians are volunteers.

Senator Patterson said the Australian Government supports volunteers in a variety of ways.

“In 2003 the Howard Government provided some $3 million for grants of up to $5,000 each. These grants enabled organisations to buy equipment that made the work of volunteers easier, safer and more enjoyable,” she said.

“Other initiatives include the National Volunteer Skills Centre and the Volunteer Management Program linking volunteers to jobs through more than 50 Volunteer Centres around Australia.

“Volunteers play a vital part in the life of our country and at no time is this more evident than in moments of national tragedy.

“While there is no doubt that Australia’s volunteering spirit comes to the fore in the face of adversity, we must also remember the people who volunteer day in and day out. It could be doing meals on wheels or working at a shelter, or simply helping out at the local school.

“When a volunteer assists another Australian, they provide not only practical help, but also a sense that someone cares. This feeling is irreplaceable.

“These unsung heroes play a vital role in making Australia such a great country and I encourage all Australians to get involved in this International Volunteer Day and celebrate the value of our volunteers.”

GoVolunteer is managed by Volunteering Australia and was funded by the Australian Government – the website address is People can also reach their local volunteer centre on a national toll free hotline on 1300 654 643.

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