Australians volunteer more than 700 million hours each year: Report
18 February 2003
by Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS)
Canberra: The recently published evaluation report of Australia’s International Year of Volunteers (IYV) 2001 activities reveals that some 32 per cent of adult Australian donate their time and energy to not-for-profit organizations. Volunteers contribute to Australia, specifically to their own communities, some 704 million hours at a value of $AUS42 billion each year.
The report was conducted the Government’s Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS), headed by Senator Amanda Vanstone who, at the request of Prime Minister John Howard, oversaw the IYV programme for the whole country.
In addition, the report concludes that "the Year has provided greater connectivity between community, business and government in supporting and encouraging volunteerism, but has also stimulated and nourished the interest of the community in participating in volunteer activities.
More Australians are choosing to volunteer. The strongest growth is among people under the age of 25 and also among those age 55 to 64 -- who have valuable labour force skills and some time on their hands after their children have grown up.
An IYV 2001 Community Council of Advice, co-chaired by volunteer agencies Volunteering Australia and Australian Volunteers International, actively gathered input throughout the Year for a "National Agenda on Volunteering: Beyond the International Year" that was presented to the Commonwealth Government at the IYV 2001 finale event on 5 December - International Volunteers Day.
The Australian Government is confident that the activities and events held during IYV have left a strong and lasting impression. Since the year prior to IYV 2001, ongoing Federal Government funding to support volunteering has more than doubled and research continues as to how volunteers can be best supported. The capacity of the sector is being further developed through programmes which, for example, enhance volunteer skills development, as well as leadership by Volunteering Australia in very important areas like standards and risk management. Furthermore, the Australian Mint recently launched a 2003 collector's six-coin set, saluting the work of volunteers.
Read the Evaluation Report (in PDF 514KB)