On behalf of all the judges and Volunteering Tasmania, we would like to say that the nominations received this year have been outstanding, with so many incredible volunteers and amazing volunteer programs throughout Tasmania. The judges have found it extremely difficult, almost impossible, to rank one person or program ahead of another, they are all so deserving of recognition. The judging panels therefore are still deliberating and won’t be ready to publish the finalists until later next week, many apologies to those who have been looking for this information today. One easy, unanimous decision however has been that every individual nominee and nominated program will be receiving a Certification of Recognition and Appreciation, our way of saying thanks on behalf of all Tasmanians.
The Federal Government has recently announced changes to arts funding – reversing a decision to remove $104 million from the Australia Council, the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body.
In 2015, Volunteering Tasmania joined a number of arts and cultural groups to raise concern about the cuts to the Australia Council. Our concerns highlighted the impact on small to medium sized arts organisations – many of whom are reliant on volunteers. The multiyear funding offered by the Australia Council would have been felt most significantly by these groups.
We know that their contribution is vital to the continuation of many of our much loved festivals and events.
We hope these funding changes will continue to allow the Australia Council to focus on supporting these activities and continue to allow the social and cultural events in our community to flourish.
Volunteering Tasmania sent a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget decisions on the Arts, which you can read on our website here.
You can read the full article from Pro Bono Australia here: Arts Sector cautiously optimistic about new funding arrangement
Following the Federal Government’s decision to cut funding allocated to programs and services that support volunteering, the national advocacy campaign to protect this funding is about to ramp up.
Volunteering Tasmania chief executive Alison Lai recently met with representatives of the Department of Social Services in Canberra to discuss their new Strong and Resilient Communities funding program, raising concerns regarding the abolition of the funding stream for volunteer management.
“The Department has assured me that whilst the dedicated stream of funding that previously supported volunteer management programs and services has been removed, the organisations that provide these services will remain eligible to compete for funding under the new program,” Alison said.
“Whilst this news seems positive, the reality remains that there will no longer be any direct investment from the Federal Government into supporting organisations that depend on volunteers.
“Organisations that were previously funded to provide volunteer management programs and services will now have to compete against other worthwhile community groups from a pool of funds that make no mention of the importance of volunteers in our communities.
“It is very concerning that the volunteer management stream was considered appropriate to abolish in the first place. “As a result, I have grave concerns about the ability of organisations across the nation, like Volunteering Tasmania, to secure funding to support volunteering in our communities.”
Alison said that Volunteering Tasmania will continue to advocate alongside its national counterparts, led by Volunteering Australia, to ensure that the value of investing in volunteering is not overlooked by the Federal Government.
“It remains imperative that we advocate on behalf of the importance of the programs and services that support volunteering in our State,” Alison continued.
“Volunteering in Tasmania is a multi-billion dollar industry, with the volunteer contribution estimated at $4.9 billion each year.
“With national volunteering rates declining, the Federal Government cannot overlook the importance of investing in establishing sustainable, best practice volunteer management services.
“Even a small decline in volunteering rates in Tasmania would have a significant impact, not only on the delivery of community services, but on all aspects of community life.”
The next meeting of state and territory volunteering peak bodies will be in Melbourne on Monday, 20 March.