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Sport Australia and Volunteer Australia Progress Partnership

T
he partnership between Sport Australia and Volunteer Australia (VA) will shift its focus from promoting volunteering to exploring ways to enhance the volunteer experience.

Forming the partnership in November 2020, both groups singed a new Memorandum of Understanding last week outlining their intention to shift focus from work like the recent National Volunteer Week campaign to “explore further opportunities for collaboration between sport and volunteer organisations.”

According to Sport Australia, there are “over three million Aussies contributing across all levels of sport” with volunteers holding 72% of sport and recreation roles.

The key areas the partnership will focus on, include “reducing barriers to volunteer recruitment, attracting more volunteers to sport, and increasing volunteer retention and quality of experience.”

Sport Australia acting CEO, Rob Dalton, said they are excited to keep building their partnership with VA.

“Our focus on volunteers has never been stronger and we are looking forward to building on the early progress we have made through our partnership with VA,” Dalton said.

“Our partnership with VA has enabled us to build the connection between the sport volunteering sectors and start a conversation on how we might better collaborate in the future.

“We are excited to enter the next chapter in our partnership as we look to create more alignment between volunteer and sporting organisations and sharpen our focus on improving the volunteer experience,” he said.

Speaking on the Australian Government’s $17 million funding boost for sport participation, Dalton noted some the funding would be used for the development of volunteers as well as promote participation.

“In 2021, our sports are developing  new programs to attract and retain even more participants as well as committing extra resources to upskill their volunteers,” Dalton said.

Volunteering Australia CEO, Mark Pearce, said the progress of the partnership emphasises the importance of volunteers in Australia’s sporting landscape.

“Volunteering Australia’s ongoing partnership with Sport Australia acknowledges the vitally important role volunteers play enabling sport and building communities,” Pearce said.

“We now take our partnership to a higher level with a strategic focus on increasing participation through cross-sector collaboration.

“In order to develop a consistent, inclusive and transformative national volunteering strategy the involvement of peak bodies such as Sport Australia will be essential,” he said.

After hosting a number of collaboration workshops for key sporting and volunteering organisations, Sport Australia and VA will develop a national plan on the future of sport volunteering to be released in the second half of this year.