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Volunteer Week (Public Event)

Event Date: 12 May 2008 ends 18-May 08 (Ranged Event)

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[b]Volunteer Week[/b]
The volunteering work of more than half a million Western Australians was celebrated in Perth today as part of National Volunteer Week.
Communities Minister Sue Ellery said in Perth the week was designed to recognise the outstanding contribution of volunteers, who in Western Australia were worth about $1.6billion to the economy each year.
“Western Australia’s volunteering participation rate is two per cent above the national average - the second highest rate in Australia behind the ACT,” Ms Ellery said.
This is something of which all Western Australians should be very proud.
“Volunteers contribute to almost every facet of life in Western Australia, and without them, our community would definitely be less prosperous.
“They care for the sick and frail aged, keep our tourist attractions and events vibrant, look after our wildlife and environment, and provide important social services to people in need.
“Volunteering not only benefits the wider community, but the people who freely give their time gain new life skills, enjoy new experiences and most importantly, they receive the satisfaction that comes from making a real difference.”
Volunteering Western Australia chief executive officer Mara Basanovic said National Volunteer Week was an opportunity to celebrate the 71 million hours of unpaid work that 36 per cent of Western Australians contributed each year.
“Their generous volunteering spirit helps make Western Australia such a special place to live,” Ms Basanovic said.
The Minister said the Carpenter Government was committed to providing support and recognition for the work of volunteers.
The Government had:

[*]developed new public sector guidelines to support the 70,000 volunteers who contributed to the work of State’s public sector agencies;
[*]provided volunteers with access to reduced-fee national police checks;
[*]contributed annual funding of $400,000 for 22 volunteer resource centres across the State;
[*]provided funding of $275,000 to Volunteering WA to provide a support service to organisations;
[*]funded WACOSS with $30,000 per annum for training to support good practice in volunteer management;
[*]provided grants of up to $5,000 for volunteer recruitment and retention strategies, and small grants of up to $750 per organisation to hold their own Thank a Volunteer Day event; and
[*]funded $750,000 over the past two years for the Enhancing Access project, which helps organisations support people with disabilities to become volunteers.

To raise awareness among young people of the importance of volunteering, the Government had also introduced the Community Service Program for high school students, in which students contributed at least 20 hours of voluntary service to the community.

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