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Tasmanian Volunteering Redefined Under New Breakaway Principles

24 July 2012 at 11:16 am
Staff Reporter
Volunteering Tasmania has broken away from the national volunteering body to release a new set of principles to redefine what it means to be a volunteer.

Staff Reporter | 24 July 2012 at 11:16 am


Tasmanian Volunteering Redefined Under New Breakaway Principles
24 July 2012 at 11:16 am

Volunteering Tasmania (VT) has broken away from the national volunteering body to release a new set of principles to redefine what it means to be a volunteer.

VT says the principles unveiled in Hobart today challenge Australia’s long held assumptions of what constitutes a volunteering act.

VT CEO Adrienne Picone says for the first time in Australian history the new principles will see Tasmanian volunteer numbers skyrocket.

“Emerging trends that challenge the current Volunteering Australia definition of volunteering such as roles organised through Job Service Agencies that are tied to income support, prompted our move to revisit the definition,” Picone said.

“In a controversial move we have included activities where there is a financial benefit to the
volunteering act, such as reimbursement of expenses incurred, a tangible reward such as a movie ticket or an enabling amount of money such as a living allowance.

“The Characteristics of Volunteering statement challenges Volunteering Australia’s Definition and Principles of Volunteering statement and will translate to many more people who had not previously identified as volunteers, now identifying as volunteers.

“The new principles focus on the outcomes of the act of volunteering rather than an individual’s motivation or intentions.

“Volunteering can now also happen in a formal or informal setting and does not have to be defined by organisational settings. This may include a weekly visit to an elderly neighbour to provide companionship and food.”

Under Centrelink requirements job seekers can choose to look for work or volunteer in order to receive payments and this group will now be included under the VT principles.

“We are not rejecting the Volunteering Australia definition but we are thinking outside the square to ensure that we recognise and acknowledge those volunteers who are currently missing out,” she said.

Picone said volunteers were vital to the success of Tasmania’s local communities, with experts such as Professor David Adams pointing to $540 million in costs saved in Tasmania each year alone.

She says the VT Characteristics of Volunteering statement was developed through consultation with the Tasmanian volunteering sector, the VT Social Policy Advisory and VT staff members.

Picone says she will be presenting the new principles to other State Based Volunteering organisations.

Currently the office of Volunteering Australia remains unstaffed after the recent move to Canberra. Staff from the Melbourne headquarters were made redundant at the end of June.

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  • Garry says:

    About time someone broke away from tradition and convention. The Australian Government has for a long time forced some forms of volunteering onto our senior population through incentives or rewards (but not a wage) – now it can be recognised. I agree, volunteering can be for monetary reward, but it is not longer volunteering if it is a considerable monetary reward, and by considerable monetary reward I propose it is the standard minimum award (junior) rate.

  • Congratulations to Volunteering Tasmania for creating this broader definition.It’s a refreshing approach. I don’t necessarily agree that re-imbursement of out-of-pocket expenses is a financial benefit – nobody profits from this and indeed the claims procedure is usually a headache. In my experience, volunteers under claim anyway. Perhaps worth reconsidering out-of-pocket expenses in a new light as also being tax deductible. Now there’s a challenge to consider if the government is serious about the value of the contribution of volunteering to the economy and community.

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