Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

International Volunteers Day celebrates Australia’s volunteers

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today applauded the efforts of Australia’s 6.3 million volunteers who make a real difference to the quality of life in our community.

Senator Patterson said International Volunteers Day was a fitting way to celebrate Australia’s volunteering spirit and the recently released Giving Australia report showed that the number of adult Australian volunteers had almost doubled over the past ten years.

“The Giving Australia report showed that adult Australians volunteered approximately 836 million hours in 2004, with each volunteer donating on average 132 hours of their time,” Senator Patterson said.

“The report also showed a pleasing trend in the number of people volunteering, in 2004, 41 per cent of adult Australians volunteered compared with 34 per cent in 2002 and 24 per cent in 1995 (ABS 2003).

“The successful Howard Government’s Volunteer Small Equipment Grants (VSEG) program provides practical support to Australia’s volunteers, having already delivered over $29 million in grants to 14,000 community organisations throughout Australia.

“Under the VSEG program, we provide grants of up to $3,000 enabling organisations to purchase equipment to help make their volunteers’ activities easier, safer and more enjoyable.

“The equipment some organisations have purchased, include such things as urns, microwaves, computers, kitchen equipment, tables and chairs, trolleys and safety ladders.

“The Howard Government will continue to support those who give so selflessly to our community and is committed to providing the opportunity for Australians to donate their time or money to those in need,” Senator Patterson said.