In 2014, 31% of the Australian population volunteered. That is 5.8 million people aged 15 years and over. They gave 743 hours of time across a range of activities.

The Principles of Volunteering include:

  • volunteering benefits the community and the volunteer;
  • volunteer work is unpaid; and
  • volunteering is always a matter of choice.

Volunteering Australia (VA) is reviewing volunteering in Australia to determine if a more inclusive definition would help:

  • a wider variety of forms of volunteering to be accepted and supported through better volunteer management practices
  • grow the understanding of the size and breadth of the volunteer community and its outputs and outcomes for society and Australia’s economy, contributing to greater government and community recognition of the value of volunteering in society and
  • provide greater support and recognition for volunteers not covered under the existing definition.

For further information please see the Volunteering Australia website About the National Review.

“About six million Australians volunteer each year and they play a critical role in helping other people be part of their communities. Volunteers are often unsung heroes and they form the backbone to so many aspects of our way of life; from surf lifesaving to keep us safe when we swim; supporting our elderly to remain in their homes with Meals on Wheels; and helping the newest arrivals to Australia learn English.”

Minister for Social Services, the Hon Christian Porter MP, 8 November 2016

“Outside our cities, volunteers are at the heart of communities – from volunteer fire fighters, to raising funds for local schools and caring for the elderly. Many of our smaller regional and remote communities, which are far from the services we take for granted in the cities, would not function without the strong support of local volunteers and community organisations.”

Minister for Social Services, the Hon Christian Porter MP, 1 May 2017

“We are a prosperous people, but this prosperity is not solely for our own benefit; it comes with a responsibility to invest back into our communities. Our communities are held together by the selfless service of volunteers. We must work to value their service and encourage more of our community to join the volunteer ranks and assist local organisations engage and retain today’s volunteers, particularly from younger generations. We must also appreciate that our not-for-profit sector has the potential to play a far greater role in the delivery of community services than is currently recognised.”

Former Minister for Social Services, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, in the House of Representatives, 14 February 2008

“Platforms for engaging volunteers and the way in which people are choosing to volunteer are changing rapidly.  We need to keep pace with these evolving trends to meet the growing need for volunteers.  The uptake of new technology and other innovative platforms can make volunteering simpler, more flexible and more accessible. “

Former Minister for Social Services, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, January 2015.

“The Australian Government is also re-establishing the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership to advise Government on how we can best encourage both philanthropy and volunteering in Australia among all ages.  [This] signifies the Government’s recognition of the important role volunteering plays in helping to strengthen and build more cohesive and resilient communities. We are looking for practical strategies.”

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield MP, at the IAVE Conference, September 2014