Schubert to benefit from free volunteer screening

Volunteering will be simpler and more efficient from November 1, when volunteer screening fees are abolished.

Currently, South Australians are required to pay $54.90 for a volunteer screening check – the highest application fee in the country.

South Australia has more than 900,000 volunteers whose contributions are valued at around $5 billion annually.

The Schubert electorate has the fifth highest volunteering rate in the state.

“With South Australia having one of the highest volunteering rates in Australia, this key election commitment was a no-brainer,” Member for Schubert Stephan Knoll said.

“Volunteers are the glue that sticks our Barossa community together, they need to be celebrated.

“Abolishing volunteer screening fees is important so that we may encourage more people to put their hands up and volunteer in our community.”

Volunteer screening checks are compulsory for people who want to volunteer with people with a disability, sporting clubs, charities and emergency services.

People who want to volunteer with vulnerable people, including children and the elderly, may be required to have a DHS screening, or get a police record check from SA Police.

The 2018-19 State Budget provides an ongoing funding allocation to abolish all volunteer screening fees, committing $677,000 in 2018-19 and $1.4 million per year (indexed) from 2019-20 in recognition of the importance of volunteers and their contributions across the state.

For some organisations, the abolition of volunteer screening fees could save thousands of dollars annually.

“That is money that will be put back into the pockets of Schubert’s community organisations,” Mr Knoll said.

Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the Marshall Government’s commitment was a win for South Australians.

“The Liberal Government values the incredible dedication and hard work of volunteers and the selfless work they do helping the community, and this is why we made the decision to abolish all screening fees for volunteers,” Ms Lensink said.

“Abolishing volunteer screening fees removes barriers for people wanting to volunteer and I hope it encourages the next generation of volunteers to get involved.

“Volunteers provide much needed care and support in our communities and many volunteer organisations are the life-blood of regional South Australia and this is wonderful news for them.”

The state’s peak volunteering body Volunteering SA&NT has been advocating for many years to remove barriers to volunteering, including out of pocket expenses to volunteers.

“For the organisations, these savings can be put to better use in providing services and resources for the benefit of communities. And for a volunteer, it may mean the difference of taking up a volunteer position or not,” Volunteering SA&NT Chief Executive Officer Evelyn O’Loughlin said.

“With volunteering playing such a significant part in the life of South Australians, we need to ensure their volunteering experiences are positive and rewarding and to see this result finally come to fruition is fantastic.”

To apply for a free screening check (from November 1) or for more information, visit screening.sa.gov.au.