Page 2091 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 15 May 2013

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In conclusion, let me again welcome the fact that this motion is on the program today. It is a great opportunity to stop and recognise the work of volunteers in our city. I would like to once again congratulate the winners of this year’s volunteer awards. I simply conclude by commending the motion to the Assembly.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (6.14): I thank Ms Porter for moving this motion today in National Volunteer Week. I would like to particularly acknowledge her ongoing advocacy for the volunteering cause.

I would like to take this opportunity this evening to highlight the tremendous contribution that volunteers are making to the Canberra community, particularly in a couple of portfolio areas of mine—sport and recreation and tourism and events. But before I get to that, I speak as the community services minister to acknowledge that volunteers create a very powerful sense of community, whether that is parents helping in their children’s schools or coaching sporting teams—it may even be the Easts under 7s Rugby sporting teams—citizens undertaking welfare and community work or helpers making the Multicultural Festival a success for a quarter of a million people.

Mr Coe: Political parties’ branches?

MR BARR: And even those who volunteer in the political process to support our democracy. Regardless of the capacity and the area of endeavour, volunteering is critical to building a caring and inclusive community. It shows that people are willing to sacrifice something in their own lives to help someone else.

I would like to take the opportunity to highlight this evening how the ACT government is supporting the work of volunteers and volunteer organisations. There are numerous ways that the government supports the work of volunteers. I would like to spend a little bit of time this evening talking about one particular area of focus—the area of corporate volunteering. Under the umbrella of corporate philanthropy, corporate and employee volunteering encourages organisations and businesses to help their employees do volunteering work in the community. Corporate volunteering has many benefits. Not only does it help companies meet their corporate social responsibilities, but staff gain personal satisfaction from helping others, staff learn new skills and find new pathways into community involvement.

Last year the Community Services Directorate became an inaugural member of Volunteering ACT’s corporate volunteering program. Launched by my predecessor last May during National Volunteer Week, CSD staff have participated in two volunteering events. An evaluation of the program by the directorate showed that staff enjoyed the networking and sense of contribution that were afforded by both of these volunteering opportunities.

As Minister for Community Services, I have undertaken to assume a stronger leadership role in combining the Community Services and Economic Development portfolios to look at how corporate volunteering can be more naturally embedded in the work of the ACT government and the work of the ACT business community.

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