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Modern Australian Communities Report


The Modern Australian Communities report was produced earlier this year by Australian Seniors Insurance Agency as part of their The Australian Seniors Series. It sheds light on the impact the voluntary contributions of seniors have on their local communities, as well as their concerns about the future of the sector.

The positive relationships people create in their local communities strengthens the social fabric that keeps our society healthy. This fabric connects people across many different lines through shared regional values. Volunteering plays an important role in maintaining the social fabric as people donate their time and skills for the benefit of others.

Watch the video below for an overview of the report’s findings:

Read the full report

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Disability Expo Sunshine Coast


The inaugural Disability Expo Sunshine Coast will be held at the Lake Kawana Community Centre on Friday 14 September. The Expo will be the Sunshine Coast’s most comprehensive gathering of product and service providers in the disability space.

The Expo will be the ultimate one-stop-shop for local families, carers and people with a disability. There will be a wide range of exhibitors from various fields including:

  • Health and Fitness
  • Employment and Education
  • Transport and Vehicles
  • Post School Options
  • Advocacy
  • Social Activities and Recreation
  • Independent Living Services and Products
  • Assistance Products
  • Support Services Providers

Thinking of becoming a sponsor or exhibitor? Download the Exhibitor and Sponsor Booklet

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Sunshine Coast Australia Day Awards 2018


Volunteering Sunshine Coast was honoured to be nominated for a Sunshine Coast Australia Day Award in the Community- Group or Organisation category. The ceremony was held on 23 January at the Events Centre, Caloundra and was emceed by Creek to Coast’s Scott Hillier.

A welcome to country was given by the Gubbi Gubbi Dance Troupe who performed a number of dances that provided insight into the indigenous cultural heritage of the Sunshine Coast region.

The Daniel Morcombe Foundation ultimately won the Community Organisation award in recognition of their tireless advocacy for child safety and their work with schools and parents providing resources to start a discourse around these important issues.

Denise and Bruce Morcombe were also joint winners of the Citizen of the Year award to celebrate their extraordinary strength in using the tragedy they suffered to take action through the creation of the Daniel Morcombe Foundation. Their work with Government and other interest groups has contributed profoundly to increasing general awareness of the issue of child safety.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Citizen of the Year: Bruce Morcombe/Denise Morcombe

Senior Citizen of the Year: Donald Moffatt

Young Citizen of the Year: Olivia Lindsay

Community – Group or Organisation: Daniel Morcombe Foundation

Creative: Judy Pippen

Environment and Sustainability: Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors

Sport and Recreation: Sunshine Coast Lightning


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Queensland Government trialing new online platform


The Queensland Government is currently trialing the new ‘My Account’ online dashboard that will allow Queenslanders to interact with government in a more efficient and user friendly manner, with development prioritising senior services.

The online senior services, developed by the government’s ‘One Stop Shop’ team, form part of the Queensland: An age-friendly community action plan which was the product of an online survey and consultations with various stakeholder groups.

View the full action report

The streamlined platform aims to consolidate and personalise information and application processes for ease of use. One trial service will enable seniors to apply for a seniors card and other concessions in one place. The Queensland Government is currently seeking feedback for this service.

More broadly, the ‘My Account’ platform will enable all Queenslanders to manage their details across multiple government departments, track the progress of applications, discover services they may be eligible for and more.

Check out the platform

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Have Your Say – Dementia Consumer Support Consultation


In 2016, The Australian Government consulted with stakeholders on potential improvements to dementia consumer supports. Discussions arising from the Ministerial Dementia Forum held in December has led to the creation of a consultation paper outlining a range of redesigned consumer supports.

This consultation paper is the final stage of public engagement on the issue and, after all feedback has been received, the Government will proceed with finding a suitable service provider to deliver the redesigned national dementia consumer support services.

This consultation runs until 15 November 2017. If you would like a have your say on the proposed reforms, download the consultation paper here. 

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Proposed amendments to hurt mature-aged jobseekers


The Federal Government is considering amendments to the Social Security Act 1991 which would change the compliance requirements of job seekers aged 55-59. ‘Schedule 9’ of the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 requires people aged 55-59 dedicate a minimum 15 hours per fortnight to job search or other job-related activity, such as work for the dole. Currently, their mutual obligation to serve at least 30 hours per fortnight engaged in an approved activity may be fulfilled entirely through voluntary work.

Volunteering Australia has raised a number of concerns regarding this proposal:

  • Mature-aged workers are already a disadvantaged group, who face specific challenges in securing employment. This new compliance requirement will force them to spend considerable effort engaged in what is often fruitless job seeking. This time could be better spent in voluntary work, which provides professional development and a reliable pathway to employment.
  • This age group is an invaluable part of the volunteering sector, contributing a significant amount of time and energy to volunteer work. These changes would likely move people away from volunteer positions, having a detrimental effect on the sector.
  • Fewer mature-aged volunteers would affect the quality of services provided by volunteer involving organisations and volunteer support services, as well as their long-term financial viability and workforce capacity.

This proposal is a worrying sign that the government does not appreciate the value of volunteering to our communities and the prospects it provides jobseekers.

Read Volunteering Australia’s full response the the bill here.

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Positive Ageing Survey


The Sunshine Coast Council’s commitment to a strong, connected and vibrant older population was the focus of its Sunshine Coast Positive Ageing Strategy 2011-2016. Looking forward, the council’s Community Planning and Development Branch will continue this work through the Positive Ageing Action Plan.

The Council is asking local seniors to have their say by completing a short survey. This survey will provide important insights that will shape council’s priorities for the future. Residents under 65 are also welcome to fill out the survey.

Find the survey here.

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Volunteer Value


Volunteering Australia’s research department recently placed the value of a volunteer’s time at $40.35/hr. This is based on the average hourly wage in Australia, as determined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

This wage value has increased from:

  • $24.09 in 2006
  • $28.99 in 2011
  • $34.89 in 2016
  • and is estimated to increase to $42.00 by 2021.

The Sunshine Coast’s 64,000 volunteers contributed between $162-324 billion to the local economy in 2014, along with $245 million in unpaid wages. That is higher than the Clean Technology
industry’s estimated economic contribution of $214 million on Sunshine Coast Council estimates.

The economic value of volunteering nationally has been placed at between $200-290 billion when accounting for factors such as lives saved, the financial worth of emotions and latest inflation rates. This would place the volunteering sector above mining, agriculture, defence and retail in terms of its economic impact.

Visit the ABS website for more information.


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Meet a Local Hero


Every now and then, you meet someone truly inspirational. Jake Fulwood is such a person. Here is his story from his proud Mum, Sharon:

I would like to introduce you to my son, Jake. He is 21 years old and has Spina Bifida. He is studying Linguistics – Japanese at Griffith University (although deferred this semester to concentrate on his training). Jake recently competed in the Under 23 World Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Toronto, Canada, where the Aussie Spinners won the Bronze.

As you can imagine, it hasn’t always been the easiest road to get Jake to this standard of basketball. Jake has had numerous major operations before the age of 10, and only ever wanted to play team sports. Just after his 10th birthday, we introduced him to wheelchair basketball; and although he had another operation just after, and had 3 months off, he went to his first Australian Junior Nationals at the age of 11.

Playing sport has been the best thing we have ever done for Jake. It has improved his self-esteem, confidence, the way he sees his disability. He’s made friends, met mentors, paralympians and most importantly, found a reason for living.

The road to Toronto has been a long one, with a lot more operations in his late teenage years. But when he won the player of the match against Italy, we both think it was the culmination of all the hard work and determination he possesses.

Basketball has also been fantastic for my other children too. My next son down has high functioning autism, and although he cannot spend a lot of time at the courts, always volunteers to help along with his sister at the wheelchair basketball tournament that is held here on the Sunshine Coast. 

Jake’s involvement in basketball has led me to volunteer for local, state and interstate teams in many fulfilling positions over the past 12 years. Thanks to his passion, I have been able to grow and now incorporate what I have learned in this time as a volunteer into my business as an Event Manager.

Having children with disabilities hasn’t always been easy, but it sure does ensure you as a parent grow.









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Proposed reforms to DGR regulations


The Department of the Treasury published a discussion paper on 15 July proposing potential reforms to Deductible Gift Recipient tax arrangements. A number of recommendations have been proposed, including removing public funding requirements and transferring the administration of the four DGR registers to the ATO.

However, concerns have been raised about inclusions targeting charities’ advocacy activities.

Sarah Davies, CEO of Philanthropy Australia, states: “of significant concern are the suggested new restrictions and unnecessary reporting burdens which seek to stifle or limit advocacy activities by charities.”

The Community Council for Australia has submitted a response to the Treasury discussion paper, asserting the paper distorts the definition of charity, and imposes excessive red tape on the not-for-profits sector, among other critiques. Volunteering Australia provided a letter of endorsement for the submission.

Read the CCA’s submission and Volunteering Australia’s letter of endorsement:
Submission paper

Letter of endorsement

If you would like to have your say, the Department of the Treasury is accepting submissions until 4 August 2017. Visit the Treasury website.

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