Reception for Volunteering Australia in recognition of National Volunteer Week, Government House
This is Ngunnawal Country.
Today we are all meeting together on this Ngunnawal Country.
We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Elders.
Good evening, everyone.
It is a great delight for Linda and me to welcome you to Government House during this very important week in our national calendar.
National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to shine a light on our wonderful volunteers and highlight the impact they have in our community.
Volunteerism and community have occupied much of my thinking in recent days.
It was of course the central focus of the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III. Celebrating and encouraging volunteering will be front and centre of Their Majesties’ reign, building on the legacy of our Late Queen.
The power of volunteering and its impact was on full display here last Friday. Linda and I hosted a celebratory event in recognition of the Coronation of His Majesty for a range of people and organisations that have made — and continue to make — a positive contribution to the community.
As we were reminded in London 11 days ago, here last Friday and again today — the impact of volunteering is incredible. The world is much the better for the selfless actions of volunteers.
One of the great privileges of my role as Governor-General, with Linda, is that I meet so many wonderful people and organisations that are committed to our country and our community.
In truth, it’s a never-ending list.
We see it at Investiture ceremonies, on disaster grounds, at community events such as school fetes and sports carnivals, at animal shelters…
…in its fundamental form, volunteering is community participation.
Data from a new report from Volunteering Australia reveals that for almost three-quarters of volunteers, personal satisfaction and the desire to do something worthwhile are primary motivations.
And it has a significant impact.
Data from the report also indicates that more than five million people volunteer through an organisation annually, while an additional 6.5 million provide informal volunteering support within their community.
Volunteers are the engine room of so many organisations and it is great to see that sentiment reflected in the theme of National Volunteer Week this year.
‘The change makers’ captures wonderfully the impact that volunteers make.
That ‘change’ might be at the individual level, improving someone’s quality of life. It might be at the community level, making it more inclusive and welcoming. Or it might be at the national level where, collectively, volunteers change our country for the better.
Across almost every facet of our lives, the hard work, passion and commitment of volunteers makes a real difference.
Recognition is important. Each of the organisations you represent would have the types of people we should celebrate through the Order of Australia. By nominating them, you are acknowledging their outstanding contribution.
In fact, if you put a system in place to nominate regularly, you could support ongoing recognition.
In recognising and thanking the millions of volunteers across Australia for what they do, I also want to commend Volunteering Australia for its advocacy.
National Volunteer Week is a very visual representation of your work. But, every day, behind the scenes, all involved in Volunteering Australia work tirelessly to advance volunteering in the community.
Again, it is a great delight to have you all here.
Thank you for what you do.