Page 437 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

the natural and cultural values across the ACT reserves and national parks. Our ParkCare volunteers play an important role in supporting bushfire recovery through the ranger assist program. The ranger assist program supports volunteers to work directly on important environmental conservation in our region with parks and conservation staff, including on bushfire recovery. I am happy to report that the ACT government has significantly increased funding for the ranger assist program as part of the midyear budget boost of more than $7.8 million of investments across environment and planning. This will be vital in the recovery and enhancement of our parks.

The government is acutely aware of the threat that bushfires present to our city. This is a threat that will become increasingly challenging because of climatic changes that global warming is bringing. We will continue to make the investments needed to deal with this as our city grows. The season has been one of the toughest since 2003, and it is still going. Our volunteers have done a stellar job in difficult conditions. Our city is better prepared than ever before and this is because of the hard work of all of the professionals across government, including, of course, our volunteers. Once again, thank you.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (3.48): Canberra has an enviable reputation for exceptional commitment to volunteerism by its citizens and we have seen this over our summer throughout Canberra and certainly in Tuggeranong. Some people are long-term volunteers. Some people help out spontaneously when the occasion arises and the need is made apparent. We have seen the efforts of volunteers in the face of fires and other natural phenomena in the past few months: our volunteer firefighters, service clubs, people cooking meals, delivery driving, Lifeline volunteers. Some people staffing the evacuation and relief centres have been volunteers—donating supplies, wildlife carers. The list goes on and on.

I especially mention many of our older citizens who are volunteers. Older Australians make a significant contribution to our community through volunteering. In 2010, of 75 per cent of Australians who volunteered, seniors over 65 years made up 31 per cent—certainly batting above the average. Volunteering delivers tangible economic, social and cultural outcomes for our community and also delivers back to the volunteers in wellbeing, socialisation, meaning of life and inclusion in the community.

VolunteeringACT coordinates National Volunteer Week here in the ACT, as well as the volunteering awards. I encourage all volunteering organisations to consider nominating for those awards. It is the Australian way, whether you are volunteering at your local fire unit, delivering meals to seniors at home, revegetating wetlands or cleaning up our lakes and waterways, whether you are tutoring and mentoring young people, whether you are a business person who donates time or goods and services to those who cannot afford them or in times of crisis, those who help sick children, volunteers at schools, our hospitals, our police stations, YMCA, YWCA, Lifeline, Communities at Work. The list goes on and on across all areas of our community.

If you do not already volunteer, I urge you to get involved because you get more out of it than you put in. Many places are in need of more volunteers. Ronald McDonald House, Clean Up Australia, Keep Australia Beautiful, your community fire unit, your

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video