Volunteers in the spotlight ahead of election and beyond

Volunteers across Australia will be in the spotlight right up until Election Day, serving as a timely reminder to the new Government of the need for ongoing support of community organisations.

As part of National Volunteer Week (May 16- May 22), Meals on Wheels Australia is highlighting the impact its more than 45,000 volunteers have on the lives of vulnerable, older Australians.

President of Meals on Wheels Australia, Sharyn Broer said this year’s National Volunteer Week theme – ‘Better Together’ – could not resonate more with the iconic organisation.

“We champion our volunteers every day, however with National Volunteer Week we can celebrate the contribution of Meals on Wheels volunteers on a broader, national scale,” Mrs Broer said.

“In the last days of this Federal election campaign, Australia will be recognising the incredible feats of volunteers and their enormous community contributions.

“Volunteers have gone above and beyond, particularly during the past years when faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, fires and floods. They will continue to have a critical role to play in the years ahead supporting the country’s most vulnerable people. The importance of this should not be lost on whichever party forms Government.

“The incoming Federal Government must acknowledge the value of meaningful volunteering for rural, regional and metropolitan communities.

“Our volunteer network is irreplaceable and additional support is required for volunteering organisations to remain sustainable into the future.

“We urge the incoming government to implement Recommendation 44 of the Aged Care Royal Commission by valuing the contribution of and investing in volunteers and volunteer-engaging aged care providers.

“This includes avoiding the detrimental impact of burdensome regulation and marketisation of services providing a public good and ensuring that pricing mechanisms meet the full cost of engaging and supporting a voluntary workforce,” Mrs Broer said.

Meals on Wheels Australia, the peak body for community meals providers in Australia, applauds the work of Volunteering Australia and the development of the National Strategy for Volunteering.

“For over 70 years, Meals on Wheels’ volunteers have been supporting older Australians to age independently and well in their own homes, while remaining well-nourished and socially connected with their communities,” Mrs Broer said.

“The delivery of a nutritious meal and a social and wellbeing check, performed by caring and compassionate volunteers, is a lifeline for older people who are at risk of malnutrition and isolation and provides valuable peace of mind to loved ones.”

Mrs Broer said Meals on Wheels has a critical role in the in-home and community support sector and its valuable work would not be possible without its volunteers.

“The real and unparalleled connection of a volunteer who genuinely enjoys giving back to their community and looking out for vulnerable people is priceless and needs to be preserved, now more than ever,” Mrs Broer said.

“You simply do not get this level of connection and benefit from a chilled box left on the doorstep.”