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Minister shirks responsibility for volunteer retention

The Nationals have accused the Minister for Volunteering of abdicating his responsibilities after he failed to answer a question relating to volunteer retention in Parliament.

The Nationals WA spokesperson for volunteering Peter Rundle said recent media reports had highlighted the struggle many regional emergency service organisations face in retaining volunteers.

“Research has found that regional WA is haemorrhaging more than 10 emergency services volunteers every day, with a particularly high attrition rate from the State Emergency Service,” Mr Rundle said.

“Given this alarming rate of volunteer turnover, it’s only right that the Minister for Volunteering outlines how he plans to address the issue so that those regional emergency services organisations which rely on their volunteers have some security.”

Mr Rundle said the Minister for Volunteering had shirked responsibility for the matter, claiming he was not the correct Minister to respond to the question.

“It’s a massive let-down for those regional volunteers and organisations who are scrambling for support and guidance to find their own Minister does not consider issues like volunteer retention to be within his purview,” he said.

Mr Rundle queried whether the State Government’s new Volunteering Community Reference Group had been tasked with investigating the issue of volunteer burnout.

“In February this year the McGowan-Labor Government announced a dedicated reference group to support the volunteering sector,” he said.

“This group was tasked with looking into issues surrounding volunteering and is comprised of a number of experienced individuals and organisations from the volunteering sector.

“Given that earlier this year the State Government was trumpeting the value of this new group, it seems strange the Minister for Volunteering was not able to answer a question around whether or not the high attrition rate was being considered by the reference group.”

Mr Rundle called on the Volunteering Community Reference Group to outline their recommendations to minimise volunteer attrition, particularly with regards to regional State Emergency Services.

“It’s vital for the sustainability of these regional emergency services organisations that the Minister seek to fast-track these recommendations and provide some assistance and to the volunteers he is supposed to represent,” he said.