SA Volunteer Figures 'Extraordinary'
8 July 2010 at 4:57 pm
Research figures from a private consultancy for the South Australian Government has put the State's volunteering figures at almost double the national average.
A survey, conducted by private consultancy Harrison Research questioned 1,500 people to reveal that more than half of all South Australians volunteer in the community in some way.
The survey has extrapolated the results to say that 565,000 (47%) South Australians volunteer formally, with a local community organisation or group, providing an estimated 1.41 million volunteer hours per week.
It goes on to say that a further 565,000 (47%) volunteer more informally, for example helping a neighbour with their grocery shopping.
In total, the survey says this equates to a combined rate of 69% of the population – that's more than 830,000 South Australians – donating their time and energy in some way.
However the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures which are relied upon by the peak Not for Profit body, Volunteering Australia reveal that the average participation rate across Australia is 34% with Queensland and the ACT having the highest volunteer participation rate of 38%.(2006-2007)
The Harrison Research puts South Australia at more than double the national average. Despite the research results, the Volunteering SA website has 12,000 volunteer positions waiting to be filled.
Volunteering South Australia CEO Evelyn O'Loughlin says the figures do appear to be 'extraordinary' but hoped that they would not deter the Government from providing sufficient funds to maintain volunteer organisations and services.
An editorial in the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper in January cautions that the level of volunteering in SA had fallen to the lowest in the nation and a number of major events were struggling to find volunteers.
The Minister for Volunteering, Grace Portolesi did not comment on the company that carried out the research or its methodology.
However she says she is pleased with the positive volunteer rates across the state and recognises the great contribution volunteers can make to the community.
The Minister says she will continue to work with the Office for Volunteers to ensure the positive participation rates continue.
View the full report at www.apo.org.au