Volunteering Australia Reinvented
Thursday, 13th September 2012 at 9:23 am
A reinvented national volunteering peak body, Volunteering Australia, could take up to 12 months to re-establish itself in Canberra with a changed constitution and a new membership drive.
The country’s peak volunteering body closed the doors of its Melbourne headquarters at the end of June with all staff including the CEO Cary Pedicini being made redundant. The closure was part of a major structuring of Volunteering Australia by its Board including moving its operations to Canberra with a new and smaller team.
Volunteering Australia’s Board Treasurer, Terry Macdonald has been appointed as Honorary Executive Officer for Melbourne, while the CEO of Volunteering ACT, Maureen Cane has been named as acting CEO as an interim measure to help oversee the move to Canberra.
Terry Macdonald says the intention is to create a truly national body with Australia-wide membership rather than being an umbrella organisation for the State bodies.
“We are changing the approach to our membership and looking to large charities with a national interest in volunteering to pay up as members and augment our funding,” Macdonald said.
“We need to strengthen ourselves to be more effective in the field.”
Macdonald says that the changes, including updating its processes and governance will require changing Volunteering Australia’s constitution and could take up to 12 months to complete.
He said funding for the interim period is being made available by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. “The next step is to recruit long term staff including a CEO.”
“New appointments and proposals for change will then be delivered to the Federal Government for agreement,” he said.
The Acting CEO of Volunteering Australia Maureen Cane joined Volunteering ACT as Chief Executive Officer in April 2011, after a career in senior management positions in the Australian and ACT Public Services and in the community sector. Cane was awarded Canberra Citizen of the Year for 2011 in recognition of her personal efforts and significant contributions to the ACT community.
The tipping point for Volunteering Australia when the Federal Government undertook a series of consultations during the development of the National Volunteering Strategy and a review in late 2011 of the Volunteer Management Program (VMP).
In February 2012, an updated funding model was proposed for the VMP to support the implementation of the Strategy. Under the funding arrangements, funding for Volunteering Australia and State and Territory peak bodies were to be amalgamated into a new National Project Fund.
After the release of the proposed funding model, stakeholders raised a number of concerns about the impact of the changes.
In response, the Federal Government decided to defer the implementation of a new funding model, while it consulted further with the volunteering sector and State and Territory Governments on new program arrangements.