Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and to the Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon Mr Steven Ciobo MP has launched the Australian Government’s Returned Australian Volunteer Network in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
The network will connect returned Australian volunteers across the country, who have participated in Australian Government-funded international volunteering programs since the 1960s.
During the network launches, Mr Ciobo spoke about the extraordinary contribution of Australian volunteers to Australia’s aid program.
“The flow of people – and the flow of ideas – is an important part of any nation’s international engagement.
“Australian volunteers epitomise this, they transfer their knowledge and skills and forge relationships with people and communities in the Indo-Pacific.
“The Returned Australian Volunteer Network will harness this expertise and experience when volunteers return to Australia,” he said.
The Australian Government has supported more than 10,000 Australian volunteers overseas and aims to have over 2000 returned volunteers join the network over the next year.
The network will launch in each state and territory in the coming months. Australian volunteers are able to connect with the network through LinkedIN or through our Australian Volunteers for International Development page.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has been allocated an estimated budget of $39.6 million for the Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) program in 2015-16, a change from $56.6 million in 2014-15.
The AVID program remains a central and valued part of Australia’s aid program. This financial year we expect to have around 1400 volunteers working overseas.
The Department has been working closely with AVID partners and DFAT posts on revisions to the program.
The AVID program will have a greater focus on the Indo-Pacific region, with anticipated volunteering opportunities in the following countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Indonesia, Laos, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Nepal, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Vietnam.
Australian Red Cross (ARC) in close consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has made the decision to integrate international volunteering within its broader humanitarian and development partnership with the Australian Government. This change will enable the ARC to align its volunteering work directly with the humanitarian and development objectives of the Red Cross movement in the Indo-Pacific region.
This means that over the coming year ARC will transition out of the AVID program. In principle all ARC volunteers will be supported to complete their assignments as planned. Scope Global and Australian Volunteers International will continue as delivery partners for the AVID program.