SA State Election 2018
Volunteering Sector Proposals
Volunteering is a vital part of South Australian life - connecting communities and improving the health and wellbeing of its citizens.
Through Volunteering SA&NT, the volunteering sector in South Australia is seeking commitment from all political parties and the Government of South Australia on a range of proposals that will contribute to the sector being safe, effective and sustainable and ensure Volunteering SA&NT continues to lead, advance, grow, promote and celebrate volunteering.
- Volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.
- More than 920,000 South Australians volunteer formally and informally.
- Alarmingly, formal volunteering is decreasing in South Australia, from a high of 51% in 2006, to 42% today, adding pressure on volunteers who serve in vital areas such as emergency services, disability and aged care.
- South Australian volunteers contribute about 1.7 million volunteer hours each week, equivalent to 107,400 full-time jobs.
- This volunteering effort is valued at almost $5 billion each year.
- 20,864 registered SA not-for-profit organisations and volunteer associations, with 80% having no employees, have limited income mainly raised through fundraising activities as opposed to grants.
There are currently five types of screening, including Child-Related Employment screening, conducted by the Department of Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI). South Australian volunteers paying the highest application fees compared to any other jurisdiction in Australia ($58.30). This is a barrier to volunteering. Most other States or Territories offer Child-Related Employment screening free of charge to volunteers. Five different types screening cause confusion, additional charges and unnecessary paperwork adding to the ‘red tape’ burden.
To reduce and/or remove barriers to volunteering through excessive paperwork and expense, Volunteering SA&NT seeks to abolish all fees for DCSI screening, which in turn, will see an increase in volunteer numbers, social capital and economic growth.
Serious breaches of trust between volunteers and the organisations they volunteer for have become more prevalent over recent years. Complaints are mainly in the area of bullying and harassment, whistle blowing, social justice issues or unfair dealings when a volunteering arrangement comes to an end. A Not-for-Profit and Volunteering Advocate would provide a focal point for the entire not-for-profit sector, including social enterprises. The Advocate would work to create binding resolutions in disputes with and between volunteers and their organisations; and between government and the NFP sector for funding and procurement disputes.
To ensure real solutions to the existing gaps in dispute resolution, protections for volunteers and risk mitigation, Volunteering SA&NT seeks the establishment and funding of a new Not-for-Profit and Volunteering Advocate position.
Proposal 3: Beyond 2020 - Continued Support and Funding for the Volunteering Strategy for South Australia
The Volunteering Strategy for South Australia 2014-2020 is a ‘world-first’ cross-sector partnership between the Government of South Australia, Volunteering SA&NT, Local Government Association of SA and Business SA. It articulates a vision that volunteering is fundamental to our communities and a vital part of being South Australian. It reflects our social and economic way of life and through its implementation, it improves the experience of volunteering; enhances outcomes for volunteer involving organisations and helps meet the target set in South Australia’s Strategic Plan to maintain a volunteer participation rate of 70% or better. The partnership is a flourishing example of how when different sectors come together and work in new ways to achieve transformational change and innovation, they create a greater impact that what is possible by working alone.
To ensure that volunteering is recognised as both an important barometer of community wellbeing and fundamental to a sustainable South Australia, Volunteering SA&NT seek support for a further six years for the Volunteering Strategy for South Australia (2021-2027).
Proposal 4: Retention of a Dedicated Volunteering Government Portfolio and the Continuation of the office of Minister for Volunteers
There is a clear imperative for the retention of a dedicated volunteering government portfolio and a continuation of the office of Minister for Volunteers. Volunteers contribute around $5 billion to the South Australian economy each year and save the tax payer many millions in direct service delivery. In 2000, we had the first South Australian Minister for Volunteers, and in fact, Australia’s first ever Minster for Volunteers. He introduced the first volunteer protection legislation in Australia, legal protection for good Samaritans, proclaimed a special day in honour of volunteers (Volunteers Day) and created an affordable insurance for community groups (in partnership with the LGA of SA). In 2002 South Australia had the first and only Premier in Australia to hold the office of Minister for Volunteers.
To ensure that volunteering is considered in major policy and budget decisions, with a coordinated approach across all departments, Volunteering SA&NT seeks commitment for a dedicated volunteering government portfolio and the continuation of the office of Minister for Volunteers.
Through a previous election commitment in 2014, the WeDo App was developed by Volunteering SA&NT on behalf of the Government of South Australia and is the first volunteering app of its kind in the world. WeDo connects volunteers to organisations and makes finding advertised volunteering positions in South Australia easy. Users are able to download it for free from App Store and Google Play and there are hundreds of positions advertised at any one time. By creating a profile, volunteers can be notified of positions matched to their skills and interests and then apply directly with the organisation. By logging and recording hours, volunteers have an official record of hours volunteered and skills learnt for their resume, gain points and redeem rewards which act as an incentive to encourage young people to volunteer.
To ensure the continued success and durability of the App in inspiring young people to connect with their community and volunteer, Volunteering SA&NT seeks ongoing funding for the maintenance and enhancement of the WeDo App.