25 September 2023

Volunteer army keeps sport on track

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Sport Australia, formerly the Australian Sports Commission, has encouraged all Australian sports to recognise the contribution volunteers make to their operations during National Volunteer Week, this week.

Chief Executive of Sport Australia, Kate Palmer said that with an estimated 2.3 million people volunteering for sport and physical activity each year, it was important they should be recognised and thanked.

“Volunteers donate 158 million hours to sport a year, that’s the equivalent of almost 90,000 full-time jobs,” Ms Palmer said.

“No industry benefits more than sport.”

She said research had conservatively valued that contribution at $3 billion.

“It would be misleading to describe volunteering as a thankless task, because Australian sport has some of the most passionate and committed volunteers in the world,” she said.

“We need to ensure our volunteers feel valued because the reality is many sports in Australia may not exist without the commitment and dedication of our volunteers.”

She urged every Australian sporting participant to make an extra effort and reach out this week and say thanks.

Ms Palmer said research had shown that unlike volunteering generally, sport volunteering, and particularly club sport volunteering, was strongly skewed to families.

“Some 77 per cent of club sport volunteers are aged between 35 to 54, compared to 30 per cent of volunteers outside of sport,” she said.

“Club sport volunteers spend some significant time volunteering with half (52 per cent) of weekly club sport volunteers giving more than 10 hours a week.”

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