Volunteering Australia (VA), with Volunteering Queensland, have been working with other state and national volunteering bodies, including Volunteering Sunshine Coast (VSC), over the past few months on a National Volunteering Advocacy Campaign to raise the importance of at least maintaining Federal Government volunteer funding in the current Budget deliberations for the coming 2018 financial year.
To this end, Volunteering Australia hosted a morning tea at Parliament House in Canberra on 14 February with the intent of encouraging a durable and bipartisan political approach towards the sustainable funding of the volunteer sector, not only for the current Budget negotiations but also for future financial years.
Encouragingly, Senators Louise Pratt and Jacqui Lambie have subsequently gotten a motion passed supporting Volunteering Australia’s National Volunteering Advocacy Campaign, though the future of sector funding will likely continue to be unpredictable.
The transition from the Strengthening Communities activity to the Strong and Resilient Communities grants program on 1 January 2018, means a drop in funding from $32 million in the 2016-17 budget to $18 million under the new program.
This change in funding comes despite the clear economic benefits volunteerism provides the economy. The estimated economic impact on the Sunshine Coast economy was between $162 million to $324 million in 2014, together with $245 million in unpaid wages, compared to the Clean Technology industry’s estimated economic contribution of $214 million on Sunshine Coast Council estimates.