Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Our Remarkable Volunteers

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator the Hon Jocelyn Newman, Federal Minister for Family and Community Services

A year of celebrations marking the tireless efforts of millions of volunteers across Australia began today with the official launch of International Year of Volunteers 2001 (IYV).

Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Jocelyn Newman and Minister for Community Services, Larry Anthony launched the year at Parliament House to coincide with International Volunteers Day.

Senator Newman said it would be a year in which the extraordinary work of ordinary people would be recognised.

“Volunteers form the very heart and soul of communities throughout Australia with their dedication and selfless commitment, and this coming year will be an opportunity for all Australians to thank volunteers for their work and encourage other people to consider taking up voluntary work.”

Senator Newman said that support for volunteering activities for unemployed people had been very high in a survey of community attitudes conducted by the Department of Family and Community Services, with 78% of younger respondents rating voluntary work as a suitable activity for unemployed people under 25. More than 82% of older respondents (over 45) rated voluntary work as a suitable activity for unemployed people aged over 50.

Senator Newman said the volunteering spirit was displayed on the world stage during the Olympics and Paralympics, and the efforts of volunteer workers throughout the recent floods in NSW showed just how critical the work of these people was in times of adversity.

In partnership with the Centenary of Federation, the IYV campaign highlights the diversity and scope of voluntary work in Australia with different themes for each month of the Year.

A small grants program, established by the Federal Government in October will allocate amounts of up to $5000 to community groups to support local volunteering initiatives.

Mr Anthony said the funds would be targeted at grass roots organisations across the country enabling volunteers to continue their outstanding work and help to stimulate more local initiatives.

“A resource kit, developed in collaboration with the volunteering sector, will assist smaller volunteer organisations to build on their knowledge of volunteering in the broader community and plan activities to celebrate, encourage and support their volunteers.

“2001 will be an exciting year for Australia, celebrating both the International Year of Volunteers and the Centenary of Federation. It will give us an opportunity to thank the millions of Australians who contribute to the development of our nation through their time, energy and talent,” Mr Anthony said.