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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . .

Page.. 3181..

could not be held without the valuable assistance of volunteers. It is pleasing to know that the private sector is providing opportunities for employees to access volunteer leave.

There are challenges in maintaining and increasing the number of people who volunteer in the ACT. Although the ACT has a reasonably high rate of volunteering, our highly educated population face significant time pressures from work, family or study commitments. This has been confirmed by research undertaken by Volunteering ACT.

While we know the principles in the volunteering statement still reflect our strong commitment to volunteering, the challenge for the future will be finding new ways for people to contribute to our community that fit within our busy lives. In the first instance let us continue to promote the positive benefits of volunteering and look for new ways to engage Canberrans. This could include exciting opportunities to connect new audiences with volunteering, particularly young people. Social media could play an important role in this regard.

In closing, I wish to reaffirm the ACT government's commitment to the statement and recognise that we have a role to play in growing and maintaining volunteering in the ACT.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (6.26), in reply: I would like to thank all the speakers that have spoken in support of this motion this afternoon. I acknowledge Ms Lawder's experience in her former community role and her experience in volunteering herself.

The examples Ms Lawder gave about the commitments that are necessary to volunteer for the organisations she listed served to demonstrate clearly the challenges we face. Many of the organisations she mentioned require volunteers to be available on a regular basis. Volunteers that are time poor who can only volunteer for short periods or from time to time cannot necessarily volunteer for these organisations.

Mr Rattenbury gave the example of volunteer firefighters and Ms Lawder mentioned the community fire units of which she and I are both members. These volunteers need to be on hand constantly during the fire season, of course, but also need to keep their skills up to date and refreshed, and must devote many hours to training.

Fortunately, there are opportunities such as Greening Australia where volunteers can join with others to make a huge difference to the environment when they have a free weekend. Volunteering of this kind is very good for people who are busy, such as members here. I would encourage all members here to look at the Greening Australia website and familiarise themselves with those opportunities.

I am sure, as the minister said, there are many opportunities for all of us to volunteer, if we look for them. I am very grateful that the minister acknowledged that there are many challenges and that we do need to look at the volunteering statement in light of the changing volunteer workforce and the environment of volunteering in the 21st century.

Motion agreed to.

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