Legislative Council: Wednesday, July 03, 2019


Community Voices Program

The Hon. J.S. LEE (14:32): My question is to the Minister for Human Services about an important program for volunteers. Can the minister please provide the council with an update about the Community Voices program, which is in collaboration with Flinders University Screen Production?

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (Minister for Human Services) (14:32): Thank you, Mr President. I thought you were going to ask me about Labor's secret SA Water privatisation plans, but that would have been in order to provide a prop.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I printed that one off myself, thank you very much.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! Minister, go on. Do you want to answer this question, minister?

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I think it's a very worthy question, Mr President.

The PRESIDENT: Then please get on with it.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I would like to be able to answer it.

The PRESIDENT: Please get on with it.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I'm actually becoming quite deaf in this ear, so that's probably—

The PRESIDENT: Your own benches were just as bad then.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I thank the honourable member for her important question. It was my great privilege recently to attend Flinders University, the alma mater, I think, of the—

The Hon. I.K. Hunter: The greatest university in the world.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: —Opposition Whip, to attend the launch of this year's Community Voices program, which is a partnership between the South Australian government's Department of Human Services and Flinders University about shining a light on volunteering in South Australia. Since the program started 13 years ago, about 200 filmmaking students have worked in partnership with volunteer community organisations to produce almost 120 video advertisements and short documentaries.

These videos promote the valuable work undertaken by volunteers and their organisations in contributing to the wellbeing of our community. We know that the generous support given by people through volunteering and philanthropy is fundamental to a sustainable South Australia.

The students put in an enormous amount of effort, which takes up to 250 hours of their time, using a range of skills, including research, writing, producing, directing, editing and cinematography. The program assists the students to become industry ready, to get jobs or even start their own business.

At the same time, the program provides invaluable benefits for community organisations, giving them access to skills and resources that may be beyond their reach and helping them to promote their programs and services, recruit and celebrate volunteers, and raise awareness about the valuable work they do in the wider community.

Community Voices is a win-win for both the students and the organisations they work with. An estimated 900,000 South Australians donate their time and energy to contribute to volunteering in this state, and together they give approximately 1.7 million hours, equivalent to over 100,000 full-time jobs, worth about $5 billion to our state every year. We know that the reasons why people volunteer are many. Some of these are intangible. They learn new skills, increase confidence, increase their connectedness and wellbeing, and a range of other areas.

The organisations that were showcased through videos this year include Puddle Jumpers, Baptist Care SA, Headspace Port Adelaide, Lutheran Community Care and the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation. I would like to commend the lecturer in screen production, Dr Tom Young, and thank the university for their partnership with this very important program and wish them and all their students well into the future.