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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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Sunshine Coastrek 2017


The inaugural Sunshine Coastrek team trekking challenge is being held on Friday 28 July, on the Sunshine Coast, between Caloundra and Noosa Heads. Teams of four, will trek 30 km or 60 km, getting fit while raising money for the Fred Hollows Foundation to restore sight. The Foundation has the goal to try and raise over $1.5 million in this event, their biggest fundraiser in Queensland.

The event has a few volunteer vacancies left to fill:

Thursday 27 July

Time: 3 pm- 7.15 pm
Location: Peregian Beach SLSC, 5-11 Kingfisher Dr, Peregian Beach  4573
Site use: Registration
Volunteers required: 2

Friday 28 July

Time: 2.45 pm- 8.30 pm
Location: Peregian Beach SLSC, 5-11 Kingfisher Dr, Peregian Beach 4573
Site use: Checkpoint
Volunteers required: 4

Time: 2.45 pm- 8 pm
Location: Sunshine Beach SLSC, Duke St, Sunshine Beach 4567
Site use: Registration
Volunteers required: 1

Time: 7.45 pm- 11.30 pm
Location: Sunshine Beach SLSC, Duke St, Sunshine Beach 4567
Site use: Checkpoint
Volunteers required: 2

Time: 10 am- 3 pm
Location: Noosa Woods, Claude Batten Dr (off Hastings St), Noosa Heads 4567
Site use: Finish
Volunteers required: 2

Time: 2.45 pm- 7.45 pm
Location: Noosa Woods, Claude Batten Dr (off Hastings St), Noosa Heads 4567
Site use: Finish
Volunteers required: 1

Time: 7.30 pm- 1 am
Location: Noosa Woods, Claude Batten Dr (off Hastings St), Noosa Heads 4567
Site use: Finish
Volunteers required: 1

Check out what Coastrek is about:

If you are interested in getting involved, visit the Coastrek website.
You can also contact Coastrek Coordinator Jane Crouch:
Ph: 1800 203 691

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Multicultural Action Plan 2017-2020


To recognise, respect and embrace diverse cultures, and to strive to strengthen the resilience and prosperity of our multicultural Sunshine Coast.

On July 18, the Sunshine Coast Council launched the Multicultural Action Plan 2017-2020 at Caloundra Community Centre. The occasion, attended by Mayor Mark Jamieson and members of the Caloundra Women’s Global Hub, was marked with the planting of a moringa tree, known as the “global tree” or “miracle tree” due to its importance as a food security plant.

The action plan was implemented to increase social cohesiveness in our culturally diverse region through the development of positive social relationships.

The plan focuses on three priority areas:

Valuing cultural diversity

Acceptance and recognition of diverse cultures enriches experiences for people from all walks of life. Taking steps to settle and engage new residents and visitors in a manner that makes them welcome and connected to the Sunshine Coast community builds a sense of belonging.

Accessing opportunity

The fostering of relationships, building of business networks and involvement in business events provides for improved skills and career opportunities. The promotion and effective involvement of people from a multicultural background in these activities supports a prosperous future for all.

Enabling contribution and participation

Expanding knowledge and fostering an environment that enables people from a multicultural background to actively contribute and participate in community life strengthens the cohesiveness of our community. It improves the ability of the community to respond to cultural diversity issues and develop effective local responses.

Volunteering Sunshine Coast was honoured to be part of the development of this important project, along with our other working group partners:

• University of the Sunshine Coast
• TAFE Queensland
• Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland
• Caloundra Community Centre
• Nambour Community Centre
• Maroochy Neighbourhood Centre
• Maleny Neighbourhood Centre
• Diversicare
• Carers Queensland
• Public Health Network
• Buddies Refugee Support Group
• Department of Social Services
• Department of Human Services

Read the full Multicultural Action Plan here.

Listen to Mayor Jamieson’s speech:


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Blue Card Changes


As of 1 July 2017, new application forms are available on the Blue Card Services website. You can ensure you have the latest version of the form by locating the ‘valid for lodgement’ date in the top right corner. The latest documents will list 30 June 2018 as the ‘valid for lodgement’ date.

The application fee for paid employees and people operating a business is now $87.20, while volunteers and exemption card applicants will continue to be processed free.

The fee required to request a replacement blue card has also changed to $13.20.

You can access the new forms here, and get more information at:

Contact Blue Card Services at:

Ph: 1800 113 611 or (07) 3211 6999 8 am-5 pm Monday-Thursday, Friday 9 am-5 pm


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Mary Valley Rattler Returns


The Mary Valley Rattler is getting back on track thanks to a $4.7 million grant secured as part of the Works for Queensland grants program. The Rattler Railway Company is partnering with Gympie Regional Council to have the train up and running again in December 2017. The Rattler Railway Company was established in 2014 to revive the beloved Rattler as a sustainable business that will provide continuing economic benefits to the Gympie Region.

Volunteering Sunshine Coast will be proudly offering its support for the project by sourcing volunteers to aid in its operation. Available positions include general hands, cleaners, painters, carpenters, storemen, boilermakers, fitters, customer service and on-board service. If you have an interest in steam trains, are seeking experience in the tourism sector or would just like to meet new people, please get involved in this wonderful project.

Contact us for more information:

Ph: 5443 8256
Mob: 0410 437 977 / 0410 437 237

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Sunshine Coast Volunteering Snapshot


The Sunshine Coast Volunteer Stakeholder Reference Group recently circulated a survey among the Sunshine Coast’s volunteers and the results have just come in. The strong response rate is a testament to the health of the volunteer sector on the Coast. The survey covered a number of areas including people’s attitudes toward volunteering such as what do you enjoy about volunteering, what problems you face as a volunteer and what are the main barriers to becoming a volunteer?

The most commonly identified barrier to volunteering was time, followed by a lack of information. Many volunteers had also run into problems with with workplace politics as well as difficulty finding an appropriate work/life balance. The greatest benefits were seen to be the feeling of helping others and making new friends.

The Sunshine Coast Volunteer Stakeholder Reference Group intends to disseminate the survey annually.

You can see the full report here.

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2017/18 Sunshine Coast Budget


The Sunshine Coast council recently handed down its $722 million budget, the largest to date. According to Mayor Mark Jamieson, the focus of the budget was creating Australia’s leading healthy, smart and creative region.

“Our commitment to our residents is to focus on protecting and enhancing our environment, building a strong community and growing the economy – and that is what we are doing,” Mayor Jamieson said.

Budget Snapshot
  • $106 million to maintain, renew and replace roads, pathways and stormwater assets
  • $70 million to maintain, renew and replace council’s many parks, gardens and sporting facilities
  • $37 million for libraries, galleries and community facilities
  • $30 million for economic initiatives, including major events and holiday parks
  • $32 million for preserving and enhancing the region’s environmental assets, including beach, foreshore and bushland conservation projects and clean energy projects
$237 million capital works program
  • $59 million on transportation and stormwater projects
  • $17 million on waste management infrastructure
  • $12 million on community and sporting facilities
  • $9 million on parks and gardens, cemeteries and beach accesses
  • $3 million on environmental assets and coast, canals and waterways
  • $2 million on aerodrome and holiday parks

The council has also invested $7 million in community events and grants to support the work of local not-for-profit organisations. Applications for the next round of major grants will open on 17 July and close 28 August.

Read the Community Grants Guidelines for more information.


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The Shepherd Review seeks to identify future challenges


Volunteering Sunshine Coast CEO, Cheryl Harris, was among the first to share their views on the challenges facing Australia at the Shepherd Review project’s inaugural workshop. MRC’s Executive Director, Nick Cater, and Member for Fairfax, Mr Ted O’Brien MP, also gave their thoughts in the video below.

The Shepherd Review project is a Menzies Research Centre initiative aimed at addressing the various economic challenges facing our nation through a series of national workshops.


The Sunshine Coast was the first region in the country to share their views on some of the biggest challenges facing Australia. I thank Nick Cater and the Menzies Research Centre for conducting such an important review.

Posted by Ted O'Brien – LNP Federal Member for Fairfax on Wednesday, 7 June 2017

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