4441.0 - Voluntary Work, Australia, 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/07/2007   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All


July 9, 2007
Embargoed 11.30 am (AEST)
More than 5 million Australians do voluntary work: ABS

Results from the national 2006 Voluntary Work Survey released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that 5.2 million people (34%) of the Australian population aged 18 years and over, participate in voluntary work.

They contributed 713 million hours to the community across diverse activities.

Women volunteered more commonly than men (36% compared to 32%) and, with few exceptions, this was the case regardless of birthplace, family status, labour force status or the areas in which they lived.

Mothers and fathers with school aged children, particularly those who had a co-resident partner, had higher rates of volunteering. Almost two-thirds (64%) of partnered mothers with children aged 5-14 years and just over one half (51%) of fathers in this situation had undertaken voluntary work in the previous 12 months.

Over a third (36%) of volunteer involvements were for less than 20 hours per year. Around 12% were for between 140 and 299 hours a year and a further 7% were for 300 or more hours per year. Seniors tended to spend more time doing voluntary work than their younger counterparts.

The types of organisations that volunteers gave most time to were sport/physical recreation (26% of all voluntary work hours), community/welfare (19%), religious (17%) and education and training (10%) organisations.

When adjusted to be comparable with results from the 1995 and 2000 voluntary work surveys, the volunteer rate increased from 24% to 32% and to 35% in the respective years. Increases occurred for both sexes and most age groups.

Note: The 2006 Voluntary Work Survey was designed to provide a detailed account of volunteers and their volunteering activities. As such its results will be different (and more accurate) than those available from other sources including the 2006 Census of Population and Housing. This is because the 2006 Census data were collected via a single question on a self completion Census form rather than by a series of questions asked by trained interviewers. The census data will be more useful, however, for looking at differences in volunteering at the small area level.

More details about the voluntary work survey results are available in Voluntary Work, Australia 2006 (cat. no. 4441.0).