Roles of Cataract Gorge volunteers under review by City of Launceston

Launceston's iconic Cataract Gorge
Launceston's iconic Cataract Gorge

The future structure of volunteering programs at Cataract Gorge is under review, but there are no plans to disband the group according to the city council.

City of Launceston acting general manager Michael Tidey said the group was formed by the council in 2006 to to provide guiding services at the Cataract Gorge.

“Seventeen volunteers are involved in the program, which has diversified over the years from its core mission of providing guided walks,” he said.

"In recent years it has become clear that there are significant differences in expectations between the council and the volunteers in terms of the staff time, funding and resources that should be provided by the council to the volunteers to allow them to undertake their volunteering activities.”

He said some of the volunteers had asked the council to fund a dedicated executive officer to direct and organise their programs but this was not a practice offered to other volunteer groups.

Mr Tidey said the council committed to preparing a report earlier in 2017 with recommendations on the future structure of the volunteering operations.

“The scope of the report was to determine an appropriate framework, to identify what services the volunteers should offer, and to gauge what level of resources and support should be provided by the council,” he said.

“The draft report found that the volunteers should continue to focus on guiding, both on a commercial and volunteer basis, but to discontinue non-core activities like art curation, family playgroup supervision and tourism, itinerary and accommodation advice.”

The draft report also recommended that the volunteer group elect an executive body to run meetings, liaise with the council and to allocate tasks to its members, and that training for future guides include relevant information on Aboriginal history within the Gorge.

Mr Tidey said the Gorge group’s governance arrangements should be similar to other volunteer groups such as Friends of Punchbowl, Friends of Machen Reserve and Friends of Trevallyn Reserve.