WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT VOLUNTEERS?
In 2000, the ABS conducted a household survey to measure the extent to which Australians undertake voluntary work. A volunteer was defined as someone who willingly gave unpaid help, in the form of time, services or skills, through an organisation or group.
The ABS publication based on this survey, Voluntary Work, Australia, 2000 (cat. no. 4441.0; $22.00) showed that there were 4,395,600 people aged 18 years and over (32% of the population in that age group) who undertook voluntary work in the 12 months before interview. Further analysis by the NCCRS showed that, of these, 280,200 worked for heritage and arts organisations and 1,140,700 worked for sports and physical recreation organisations. For heritage and arts organisations, females outnumbered males (163,100 compared with 117,100), while for sports and physical recreation organisations, males outnumbered females (686,400 compared with 454,300).
Those working for heritage and arts organisations spent a total of 31 million hours in the year working for these organisations. This is the equivalent of about 18,000 people working full-time for an entire year. Volunteers spent a total of 130 million hours working for sports and physical recreation organisations, which is the equivalent of about 70,000 people working full-time for an entire year.
A considerable amount of information is available about these volunteers, for example, their demographic characteristics, their labour force status, the reasons they volunteered, the expenses they incurred, the types of organisations they assisted, the extent of their involvement, and the types of activities they undertook when volunteering. This information for heritage and arts volunteers is contained in the Cultural Ministers Council Statistics Working Group (CMC SWG) publication Australia's Cultural Volunteers 2000, which was prepared by the NCCRS, and can be found on the CMC SWG Web site at http://www.dicta.gov.au/swg. The equivalent information for volunteers working for sports and physical recreation organisations is contained in a report to the Standing Committee on Recreation and Sport and the Recreation and Sport Industry Statistics Group. For more information please contact Chris Giddings on (08) 8237 7326.