By Georgia Parsonson
National Volunteer Week takes place from the 17th to the 23rd of May. In recognition of this fact, Volunteering Queensland will be hosting several events throughout the week to celebrate the residents who have given their time to help others in their communities.
The first State of Volunteering in Queensland Report indicates that more than three million Queensland residents over the age of 18 volunteered in some capacity during 2020, for a total of 900 million hours.
Minister for Communities, Leanne Enoch, said, “Volunteers are the backbone of our communities, and this report highlights just how eager Queenslanders are to support others; Even if it’s during the height of a global pandemic.
“In 2020, volunteering is estimated to have been worth $84 billion in Queensland, which is incredible when you consider how COVID-19 significantly disrupted traditional volunteering roles.
“Over 28,500 volunteers put their hands up to be part of the Palaszczuk Government’s Care Army, and we have provided $250,000 to Volunteering Queensland to broaden the role of this initiative.”
This is in addition to $990,000 in funding that the Queensland government has provided Volunteering Queensland this financial year.
“We have also brought together representatives from across the volunteering, community, public and private sector to form the Queensland Volunteering Action Partnership, which will guide our government’s work to further boost volunteering rates in Queensland,” Minister Enoch explained.
The report also indicated that it would cost upwards of $37.1 billion to replace Queensland volunteers, particularly their labour. This is more than three times the compensation total received by employees within the government sector.
In addition to this information, the report also revealed that volunteering contributes $3.6 billion to Queensland’s gross state product, provides a return of $4.10 for every dollar invested, and told that more than 1 in 4 people volunteer from home or online. It is a 15.2% increase from 2019.
Mara Basanovic, CEO of Volunteering Queensland, said that it was always assumed that the majority of Queensland residents volunteered in some capacity. The State of Volunteering in Queensland only confirms this assumption.
“With over 3 million Queenslanders volunteering – that’s a participation rate of 75.7% and certainly something we should all be proud of and celebrate.
“We have always known that volunteering is a valuable contributor to Queensland’s economy. Now we have the hard facts.
“Whilst we now have evidence of the high participation rate in both informal and formal volunteering, there are still many challenges facing the volunteering sector. 38% of volunteer-involving organisations saw a decrease in their volunteer numbers, with time and health reasons being the main barriers to people being able to volunteer,” said Ms Basanovic.
On Friday the 21st of May, as National Volunteer Week draws to a close, Volunteering Queensland will host the Queensland Volunteering Awards at Brisbane City Hall. Volunteers will be honoured for their efforts in all areas of the wider community, and awards will be presented in several categories. The State of Volunteering in Queensland report is available at https://volunteeringqld.org.au/.