Volunteering Now Centre of Gillard Policy Agenda Wednesday, 27th October 2010 at 10:25 am
Volunteerism has been placed at the centre of the Gillard Government's policy agenda and elevated to the office of the Prime Minister, the National Volunteering Conference in Melbourne has been told.
Senator Ursula Stephens opened the 13th National Volunteering Australia conference saying volunteering has now been placed within
Senator Urusula Stephens addresses the 13th National Conference on Volunteering. [Photo: Ryan Witcombe]
the social policy framework of Government.
She told the delegates that never before had there been such a national focus on volunteering describing the move as exciting and challenging.
Senator Stephens was representing the new Minister for Social Inclusion, Tanya Plibersek who is currently on maternity leave. Senator Stephens was the Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion under theRudd Labor Government.
Volunteering Australia CEO Cary Pedicini [Photo: Ryan Witcombe]
She told the conference that her frustration over the last three years was that volunteering policy was disjointed and portfolio focused leading to many inconsistencies when it came to State and Federal agendas.
She said it wasn't until October last year that Ministers responsible for volunteering in each State and Territory and the Federal Government met for the first time to discuss major volunteering issues.
She says now, volunteering Ministers as well as policy officials from all State and Territories are meeting regularly to share ideas and support policy issues.
Sen. Stephens says there was even less understanding of the role of volunteers and volunteerism under the Liberal Howard Government.
Some 500 delegates are taking part in the three day Volunteering Australia Conference in Melbourne with the theme of Initiate, Discover and Examine.
Sen. Stephens says the Volunteer Advisory Group has set up a website to coincide with the United Nations Year of the Volunteer "Plus 10" in 2011 to allow volunteers across Australia to network and talk to each other. The site is at www.volunteering2021.ning.com
Pro Bono Australia is a media partner of the 2010 Volunteering Australia Conference. Join the Twitter feed at #VA2010.