From November 1, volunteer screening fees will be free for all South Australians – a key election commitment promised and delivered by the Marshall Liberal Government.
Currently, South Australians are paying $59.40 for a volunteer screening check – the highest application fee in the nation.
Volunteer screening checks are compulsory for people who want to volunteer with people with a disability, and other organisations requiring screenings include sporting clubs and charities, as well as emergency services.
People who want to volunteer with vulnerable people, including children and older people, may be required to have a DHS screening, or get a police record check from SA Police, depending on the requirements of their volunteer organisation.
The 2018-19 State Budget provides an ongoing funding allocation to abolish all volunteer screening fees, with the Marshall Liberal Government committing $677,000 in 2018-19 and $1.4 million per year (indexed) from 2019-20 in recognition of the huge importance of volunteers and the work they conduct across the state.
Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said abolishing volunteer screening fees was a win for South Australians wishing to volunteer at organisations including sporting clubs and charities, as well as emergency services.
“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,” said Minister Lensink.
“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.
”Volunteering SA&NT, a non-for-profit organisation and the peak body for volunteering, have been advocating for many years to remove barriers to volunteering, including out of pocket expenses to volunteers.
Volunteering SA&NT Chief Executive Officer Evelyn O’Loughlin said the fee abolishment was a “win-win” for volunteer organisations and individual 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,” Ms 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.”
Visit www.screening.sa.gov.au for more information.