Government Backdown on Volunteer Management Funding Arrangements
21 March 2012 at 11:31 am
The Federal Government has backed away from its controversial funding arrangements announced as part of the Volunteer Management Program (VMP) following strong pressure from the Not for Profit sector.
The Minister for Social Inclusion, Mark Butler, said that the decision to defer the new funding arrangements followed continued consultation with the sector which “brought to light a range of concerns”.
Butler said that the Government has heard these concerns and will keep working with volunteering organisations to further consider the impact of the proposed funding changes.
Pro Bono Australia News reported last month that some local volunteer organisations had expressed concern at their ability to compete for funds against the bigger volunteer organisations under the new funding arrangements. Under the VMP, funding for Volunteering Australia and State and Territory peak bodies would be amalgamated into a new National Project Fund.
The proposed arrangements would have also seen funding for Volunteer Resource Centres (VRCs) in capital cities targeted to ensure services are focused in locations where they help to build capacity in disadvantaged communities.
32 regional VRCs would have continued to be funded to operate in regional Australia, with their funding guaranteed for a period of 3 years (up from the current 12 months) under the proposed changes.
A statement from the Minister for Social Inclusion says that the VMP, through which volunteering associations and resource centres across Australia are supported, has been in place since 1992.
“Since then, there have been significant social, economic and technological changes which have impacted on how and where Australians volunteer,” the statement said.
“The Government wants to see a bright future for Australian volunteers and the organisations that support them.
“It’s important that funding is targeted and used effectively. We will keep working with the volunteering sector on the details and implementation of a new funding model for the Volunteer Management Program to ensure we get the right outcome to support volunteering in Australia.”
Volunteering Victoria chief executive Dianne Embry said: “The proposed changes to the VMP represent a great opportunity to strategically target funding for volunteering across the country”.
“We welcome this chance to further iron out some of the details and implications and we will continue to work closely with the Federal Government,” Embry said.
The Government says that in the meantime, existing Commonwealth funding to volunteer organisations will continue.