MEMBERS STATEMENTS – Victorian volunteer small grants program: closure – Wednesday, 26 Oct 2011

Posted on 28. Nov, 2011 in Speeches

Mr LIM (Clayton) — I wish to draw to the attention of the house that this government has scrapped the Victorian volunteer small grants funding program without any notice or consultation with stakeholders. This funding program was introduced by the Bracks and Brumby Labor governments and was aimed at attracting volunteers from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds to the wonderful world of volunteering. Over the years community groups, including non migrant groups, have benefited significantly from this program by applying to the Department of Planning and Community Development.
As late as April this year government MPs and ministers were still singing the praises of this program and calling on community groups to apply. A number of my local community groups responded to those calls and tried to obtain application forms from the official website. From mid June community groups noticed that the program just disappeared from the website. The government did not even have the courtesy or decency to inform people that it had scrapped this funding. A cruel joke indeed!
As part of Labor’s A Fairer Victoria program, this program was allocated $3 million for three years on an ongoing basis, with no closing dates for applications. It was very well received and popular among small community groups, especially migrant groups, because they could take time to apply and were not under pressure to meet a closing date. This house should be outraged and concerned that our volunteers and voluntary community groups are being disadvantaged and discriminated against by this government’s insensitive and heartless scrapping of this funding program and should demand that this program be restored as a matter of priority and urgency.

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