SES volunteer packing boxes

Canberrans are motivated to volunteer for a variety of reasons, including to give something back to the community and to make a difference to the lives of others.

19 May 2020

This week is National Volunteer Week, an annual celebration to acknowledge the substantial contributions of volunteers, including those in Canberra.

This year’s theme is ‘Changing Communities. Changing Lives’, and that’s exactly what volunteers in Canberra do.

The ACT has the highest rate of volunteering in the nation with 36.7 per cent of adults and 57 per cent of young people volunteering in the region, according to the ACT Government’s Volunteering Statement Action Plan 2018-2021.

The efforts of volunteers are vital to supporting the ACT economy as well as helping to build healthier and more resilient individuals, communities and natural environments.

Many volunteers across Canberra have needed to reduce their duties due to COVID-19 restrictions. With news of easing of restrictions some of our hardworking volunteers are starting to get back to their volunteering roles to keep the community safe and operating.

These selfless and hardworking individuals include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Those vital in the establishment of the Canberra Relief Network (CRN), providing food and non-perishable essential items to households in financial distress and isolation during COVID-19.
  • ACT Emergency Services Agency volunteers who have worked immensely hard during this year’s fire, smoke, hail and now the COVID-19 pandemic. The ACT State Emergency Service volunteers have been assisting in the CRN and distributing laptops and 4G dongles to students for online learning.
  • Canberra Health Services volunteers who work across our hospitals and health centres.
  • ACT Parks and Conservation volunteers working in reserves and protecting our wildlife and environment.
  • Our guides, harvesters and tree, bird and frog watchers around the ACT and at the National Arboretum Canberra.
  • Events ACT and National Multicultural Festival front facing and behind the scenes volunteers supporting our annual events such as Enlighten and Floriade.
  • Floriade 2019 saw 209 volunteers who collectively completed 7108 hours over the month-long spring event - this would have been worth $177,700 if we were to pay them!
  • During the 2020 NMF weekend earlier this year in February, 156 ACT Government volunteers (up from 79 in 2019) and 213 general volunteers (up from 166 in 2019).
  • Libraries ACT volunteers who help preserve our heritage, teach English and adult literacy, and deliver library materials to the aged, ill or vulnerable Canberrans.
  • ACT Parks and Conservation have a database of nearly 200 people (a combination of new and existing volunteers) who are eager to help with the bushfire recovery project.
  • ACT Public Schools are supported by groups of parents and citizens who organise themselves through P&Cs, volunteering their time, expertise and enthusiasm to run school canteens, uniform shops and manage many of the out of school hour care services at primary schools.

The continued commitment of volunteers is helping shape and improve the Canberra community.

Now more than ever, the ACT Government is looking for ways to support Canberrans to connect, contribute, belong and be valued.  It is important communities maintain and foster community resilience and continue to support and look after each other.

To find out about volunteering opportunities in the ACT, visit

All Canberra

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