The power of volunteering

VOLUNTEERING Tasmania is hoping the federal government can match the generosity of its predecessor, as the country braces for this year's federal budget announcement tonight.

Jayne Shapeter, of Exeter, Theresa Hatton, of Launceston, NRM president Roger Tyshing  and Michael Poole, of Launceston, prepare for Volunteers Week celebrations.  Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

Jayne Shapeter, of Exeter, Theresa Hatton, of Launceston, NRM president Roger Tyshing and Michael Poole, of Launceston, prepare for Volunteers Week celebrations. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

Statistics revealed by the state government yesterday show volunteering accounts for $638.1 million statewide each year and is Tasmania's eighth largest industry.

The industry ``employs'' more people throughout Australia than hospitality, arts and recreation combined and is a larger industry than agriculture, forestry, fishery and mining combined.

Volunteering Tasmania chief executive Adrienne Picone yesterday said she was hopeful around $5 million would be allocated to Tasmania's 130,000 volunteers in this year's federal budget.

``We get $5 million across Australia to support our peak bodies and that money expires at the end of June,'' she said.

``So we're definitely hoping there will be some more for us in this year's budget.

``That money makes up one third of Tasmania's peak body and services 35 resource centres around Australia and, at the very least, we'd like to see that continue.''

Like many other organisations across the state, however, Mrs Picone said Volunteering Tasmania was today waiting to see what the federal government would cough up in its direction.

``We're hopeful,'' she said.

``We haven't had any indication that it won't happen, but none to say it will happen either.''

Volunteers Week celebrations continued in Launceston yesterday, with non-government organisation Tamar Natural Resource Management hosting its annual recognition morning tea.

Organisation president Roger Tyshing said he was more content with recognition than funding in this year's federal budget.

``Our volunteers put in 81,500 of community hours a year,'' he said.

``We would like recognition for the amount of time and effort volunteers give.''

National Volunteers Week runs from May 12-18.

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