Many volunteers in NSW

VOLUNTEERING Northern Rivers and other local organisations met with the NSW Minister for Volunteering, Peter Primrose, at the Lismore Neighbourhood Centre yesterday.

The organisations voiced concerns about a lack of resources, the need for extra funding and finding places for an overwhelming surplus of willing volunteers.

Mr Primrose announced the State Government’s aim to increase volunteering placements by 10 per cent over the next six years.

He said about three million people in NSW volunteered in some way. “Nothing runs in NSW without volunteers and at the moment there are a huge number of people wanting to volunteer,” he said.

Mr Primrose said there was ademand for more volunteer positions and a need for better ways of linking willing volunteers with available positions.

“One of the principal things in the State Plan is the recognition of the cultural importance of volunteers,” he said.

According to the Minister, the Government is going to replace the current ‘inadequate’ volunteering NSW website to make it easier for volunteers to find appropriate positions.

Representatives from organisations across the region said they needed more funding to deal with the increase in demand and to possibly introduce training programs and travel reimbursement.

Mr Primrose acknowledged the concerns, but emphasised that major change takes time.

“Are you going to see in five days’ time a $5 billion volunteer package? Probably not,” he said.

“But I will take these concerns back and raise them with the relevant bureaucrats and that is how you start the policy process.”

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