Joint media release with
The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP
Minister for Social Services
Member for Solomon
Senator the Hon Murray Watt
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
Minister for Emergency Management
THANKS TO OUR DISASTER VOLUNTEERS
Volunteers play a significant role during disasters, stepping up to help their families, friends and neighbours during times of great need.
Today, on International Volunteer Day, we recognise the tireless efforts of Australia’s volunteers, who join our professional emergency services personnel in supporting their communities in times of crisis.
During relentless and repeated disasters this year, across large parts of the country, volunteers have been front and centre protecting communities.
It has been a demanding year, and volunteers from all walks of life, from every corner of Australia, have contributed to helping their communities.
In New South Wales, SES volunteers have supported 15,800 requests for assistance and 806 flood rescues since 14 September. These requests include conducting damage assessments to buildings and homes. More than 6,300 building assessments have been completed.
In Victoria, SES volunteers have responded to more than 16,000 requests for assistance and laid down over 1.3 million sandbags since river levels rose on 6 October.
Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt said Australians are known for selflessly jumping in and lending a hand.
“Time and time again while visiting disaster impacted communities, I’ve heard stories of volunteers working alongside professional emergency services to assist people they’ve never met, helping them to stay safe, protecting properties, and cleaning up homes and businesses,” Minister Watt said.
“Whether you are a regular volunteer, or someone who has stepped up to lend a hand during an emergency, thank you for your efforts.
“The local SES, rural fire services, and not-for-profit organisations, all rely on volunteers to operate and I’d encourage anyone considering joining to give it a go.”
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said there are about a quarter of Australians who pitch in regularly to help out in their communities.
“Volunteering goes to the heart of the Albanese Government’s vision of a better future and it goes to the heart of the Australian spirit,” Minister Rishworth said.
“We’re committed to working with the sector to break down barriers and find new ways to attract, retain and re-engage volunteers.”
Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, and Treasury Dr Andrew Leigh said many Australians gave their time to volunteer.
“As Assistant Minister for Charities I see first-hand the great work the millions of Australians who volunteer do for our charities and not-for-profits,” Assistant Minister Leigh said.
“Each and every volunteer deserves our thanks and we should be especially grateful to those who step up during disasters to help their communities.”
The theme for this year’s International Volunteer Day is Solidarity through Volunteering - a reminder that we are better when we stand together.