Skip to main content

2021 Volunteering Awards - Volunteering ACT, Canberra


I begin by acknowledging that the National Museum of Australia sits on the land of the Ngunnawal People here in the ACT. If you’re a Canberran, you’ll know what a beautiful part of the country this is. We thank them for looking after it for us, for generation after generation, and pay our respects to their elders past and present.

Good evening, everyone.

It is good to be able to gather under the same roof at the same time!

Linda and I are delighted to be with you for Volunteering ACT’s night of nights – the 2021 Volunteering Awards – particularly in its 30th anniversary year.

I have a collective thank you to make!

To our region’s volunteers for your outstanding contribution to the community over the past three decades – thank you for the many ways that you enrich our community.

This awards event is an opportunity for the volunteering community to come together, recognise the many outstanding contributions over the past year, and celebrate the successes that help build an inclusive Canberra.

Good luck to the nominees. You – and the award winners amongst you – will be in the limelight tonight. Enjoy the moment. You are, of course, the tip of the iceberg! It is the ACT volunteering community that is at the heart of tonight’s awards ceremony and celebration.

What a year. What a past couple of years. Natural disasters. A pandemic. A mouse plague. Storms and hailstorms in Canberra. The combined impacts of these events has created pressure points in all areas of our community.

While there is an optimism about 2022, there are still many Australians reeling from recent events and worried about their future. There are also people and organisations that simply need a helping hand. 

Our nation is strong. It is resilient. One of the reasons for that is volunteering.

Linda and I could talk to each of you for hours about the countless examples of volunteering we have witnessed firsthand since I became Governor-General nearly two-and-a-half years ago.

In addition to volunteers, I want to acknowledge the work of Volunteering ACT. Despite the challenges of working through a pandemic, they still managed to achieve much on behalf of volunteers this past year.

The ACT currently has the highest rate of volunteering in the country – testament to the long history and proud tradition of volunteering in our region. Like many not-for-profit organisations, Volunteering ACT found alternative ways during the pandemic to deliver its services by using digital technology to keep people connected and engaged.

Well done to all at Volunteering ACT for staying the course.

Tonight, our region’s volunteering community take some much-needed time out to reflect, recognise and celebrate its successes. As I often say at awards presentations, all nominees are winners! Whether it’s a natural disaster, a pandemic or the countless examples of giving that occur in our communities every day, it is reassuring to know that volunteers stand ready to help.

To all who volunteer: your nation is grateful for your contribution. Together, you help strengthen our community in just about every way imaginable.

We appreciate you, and we thank you.