Volunteering Isn’t Free - Budget Response
12 May 2011 at 2:13 pm
Volunteering Australia has called on the Federal Government to assure the voluntary sector that it will be supported to meet the increasing demands of potential volunteers outlined in the Budget’s welfare reforms.
The national national peak body says demand will be generated by the Federal Budget move to increase the requirements for people to engage in work experience activity to meet their obligations to receive welfare payments.
Volunteering Australia CEO, Cary Pedicini says the workload that this may create needs to be quantified now and appropriately funded, so that volunteer centres are well placed to be able to provide the level of support potential volunteers may require to find a suitable volunteer placement.
He says every expansion of the mutual obligation program which offers volunteering as an option will see more pressures on its member organisations to assist unemployed people meet their obligations and they need to be considered in this equation.
Pedicini said it is timely to remember that volunteering isn't free because the cost of training, insuring and supporting volunteers is considerable and the Federal Government's announcement suggests that volunteer centres will see a big increase in the demand for their services.
He says the Not for Profit sector will be expected to meet these demands but the Federal Government needs to be aware that the costs of volunteering will also grow exponentially and ensure that those costs are met.
Volunteering Australia has however, welcomed the announcement that Federal Government will establish an independent regulator (the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission (ACNC) to improve the accountability and transparency of the sector.
VA says one of the key benefits of this initiative is to reduce overlap and duplication for general reporting requirements at the Commonwealth level.
Cary Pedicini says often the onus of governance, compliance and reporting falls to volunteer staff and directors of Not for Profit organisations and reducing this burden will enable volunteers and organisations focus their efforts on their core services.