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Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Volunteers should be acknowledged this Australia Day

Acting Minister for Family and Community Services, Larry Anthony today said all Australians should take a minute on Australia Day to reflect on the magnificent work that volunteers do for our community.

“In particular, we should praise the phenomenal efforts volunteers have made in the wake of recent bushfires in the ACT and throughout Australia,” Mr Anthony said.

“In the aftermath of such a tragedy in the ACT, we shouldn’t lose sight of the countless lives and properties saved by the heroic efforts of people who disregarded personal safety to show incredible courage and devotion to help others.

“People helped in many and varied ways from fighting the fires and providing emergency services, to preparing food for the fire fighters and those affected by the fires to looking after animals in distress.

“The many stories that have emerged in the past week show the Aussie spirit of helping a mate is very much alive.

“Thousands of people responded magnificently with offers of help to those affected by the bushfires over last weekend in Canberra and surrounding areas.

“With many community organisations also being affected by the fires I want to remind them about the Volunteer Small Equipment Grants. The grants of up to $5000 will be available for equipment to help volunteers, particularly those organisations involved in helping rebuild families and communities after a disaster such as last weekend’s bushfires.

“For instance, they can apply for the grant to replace equipment, destroyed or severely damaged, or it could just help them to continue their great work.”

Information and an application form for the grant are available from the Department of Family and Community Services website or by phoning the Hotline on 1800 018 312.

“There are 4.4 million Australians undertaking some 430 million hours of unpaid work each year – this is a time when we need to reflect and be extremely grateful for the contribution they make to our lives,” Mr Anthony said.