Volunteer Sector Needs Change
23 October 2014 at 10:42 am
Government support for the "whole of volunteering" has been sadly lacking, and the sector needs change, the Volunteering Victoria Annual General Meeting has been told.
The use of volunteers and volunteering is under the microscope today as key candidates in the State Election put their policy position and face questions at the Volunteering Victoria AGM.
“It’s time for each party, in their quest to lead our State, to be clear about what they believe their commitment should be to the entire sector – one which provides [the] State with billions of dollars of economic benefit,” Sue Noble, CEO of Volunteering Victoria said.
“The sector is not looking for how Government supports individual programs and projects, as worthy as this is, but how Government can systemically support the whole sector through supporting volunteering infrastructure that can be accessed by all volunteering organisations large and small, metropolitan and regional.
“This ‘whole of Government’ support for ‘whole of volunteering’ has been sadly lacking, and the sector needs change.
“We need to be supported to ensure the millions of volunteers in our State can continue to work productively and safely, and the organisations that rely on them can support their volunteer-delivered programs. We are all looking forward to hearing what each of the key parties have to offer.”
The use of the word "volunteering" to cover a multitude of meanings and purposes – from work for the dole schemes and community service programs – will also be scrutinised in a separate panel discussion, Hijacking Volunteering – For Fair Means or Foul?
“The term ‘volunteering’ has shifted significantly – it used to be something that had a specific meaning, but now it is used very broadly and widely. Sometimes it can be interchanged with ‘free labour’ and in some areas, the element of compulsion has crept in – something that is at odds with the core philosophy of volunteering which has never been a part of the definition," Noble said.
“It really deserves to be examined before it becomes a term hijacked for another purpose and something we no longer recognise.”