Volunteers from Victoria's rich multicultural society joined Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Nicholas Kotsiras in Geelong today for the launch of National Volunteer Week 2011.
Representing the Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan, Mr Kotsiras spoke to key volunteer groups attending Geelong's Adult Multicultural Education Service (AMES) Strength and Diversity in Supporting Communities seminar.
"This important seminar, which coincides with National Volunteer Week, provides the perfect opportunity to promote the benefits of volunteering, particularly to people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD)," Mr Kotsiras said.
"Members of CALD communities across our state can provide a precious resource with their cultural knowledge and language skills. Volunteering allows people from CALD backgrounds to feel more engaged and can also provide valuable workplace experiences."
Mr Kotsiras also highlighted the range of support measures outlined in the Victorian Coalition Government's 2011-2012 State Budget announced last week.
"A budget allocation of $5.2 million over the next four years will support the vital social, economic and environmental contribution that volunteers make to Victoria," Mr Kotsiras said.
Mr Kotsiras said the new funding would:
- support the management and coordination of emergency volunteering in the wake of natural disasters like the recent devastating floods and 2009 bushfires;
- increase volunteering opportunities for Victorians of different cultural backgrounds;
- enhance Victoria's Volunteering Portal, the government's one-stop-shop for information about volunteering including the range of volunteering opportunities available across the state.
Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government highly valued the enormous contribution volunteers made to the broader community.
"National Volunteer Week is the largest annual celebration of volunteers and volunteering in Australia. An added bonus this year is that we're also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers, a global effort to reinvigorate the spirit of volunteering," Mr Ryan said.
"I want to take this opportunity to thank the more than 1.2 million Victorians who volunteer, contributing over 170 million hours of work each year, which is worth around $4.5 billion of labour cost alone."
Mr Ryan said people interested in volunteering could find useful information and a range of volunteering opportunities at Victoria's Volunteering Portal at www.volunteer.vic.gov.au