Today, on International Volunteer Day, we celebrate the contributions of thousands of volunteers who have contributed to international development across the Indo-Pacific region.
Australian volunteers showcase our culture, people and values overseas, and contribute greatly to the communities in which they live and volunteer.
The Australian Volunteers Program started in January this year, building on more than 60 years of Australian Government-supported international volunteering. The program provides opportunities for skilled Australians to volunteer in one of 26 countries in our region, and contribute to the Australian Government’s aid program.
The theme for this year’s International Volunteer Day is “volunteers build resilient communities”, and Australian volunteers have been doing just that.
In Solomon Islands, volunteers have worked with the government to prevent gender-based violence and educate communities about family law. In Papua New Guinea, Australian volunteers have raised awareness and improved disability inclusive services for women and children in remote communities.
I thank all Australian volunteers for their contributions, and invite the community to reflect on the lasting impact that international volunteering can have on Australians and our region.
Since the 1950s, more than 15,000 Australians have undertaken volunteer assignments. In 2018, more than 800 Australian volunteers contributed to sustainable development in our region.