Volunteers – A Draft National Agenda
Monday, 29th October 2001 at 12:10 pm
The legal rights and workplace protection of volunteers are the major issues facing volunteer-involving organisations in Australia today according to a new national survey.
The survey has led to the drafting of a National Agenda on Volunteering that aims to go beyond IYV 2001; details of which were presented at the International Conference on Volunteering in Melbourne last week.
The Draft Agenda says unlike paid staff, volunteers are not always covered by legislation that protects or compensates them within the workplace. Many volunteers are exposed to risk, injury, discrimination or prejudice while others carry huge financial responsibilities or are exposed to legal liability.
As a result the Agenda calls on governments, business, community and volunteer-involving organisations to ensure that volunteers have legal status and protection through every piece of legislation and public policy that affects their volunteer efforts. It says volunteers should be publicly respected and valued, that their work be supported and funded, and organisations strive for excellence in all levels of volunteering. The Agenda also seeks to ensure that volunteering is a potent, dynamic and unifying social force in the community.
The Agenda says one of the greatest challenges is to refashion the entrenched stereotyping of volunteers as the province of middle class, middle- aged women. The Agenda’s aim is to build an awareness of the true scope and scale of volunteering.
The document presented to the conference seeks 46 outcomes for volunteers ranging from a permanent volunteer question in the Census of the Australian
Population to a national skills register.
The survey findings are the result of face to face consultations in every state and territory and the distribution of 15,000 questionnaire forms.
The National Community Council of Advice along with Volunteering Australia produced the Draft Agenda. The National Agenda will be presented to the Federal Government on December 5th – International Volunteer Day!
If you would like a copy of the Draft National Agenda on Volunteering please send an e-mail to [email protected].