As the recent bushfire emergency has revealed, Australians are among the world’s best volunteers, with tiny Tasmania our national champions.
Australians and New Zealanders overall are the most charitable and ready to volunteer than any other countries, according to a British-based Charities Aid Foundation survey.
New research by Volunteering Tasmania has shown that nearly 70 per cent (68.6% or 297,000) Tasmanians aged more than 15 years of age volunteer in one-shape or form.
However, this is down on the figures of only a few year’s earlier with an 11.2% drop in volunteering participation from 2014 (79.8%) to 2019 (68.6%). This could be partly-due to the expense; it is costing volunteers nearly $1000 a year to volunteer and on average they are only reimbursed seven per cent of their costs by volunteer involving organisations.
The Tasmanian figures includes people who volunteer formally with organisations and those that do not have an affiliation with an organisation but contribute informally to their communities. Volunteers contribute on average 229 hours a year or 4.4 hours every week to their fellow Tasmanians.
The value of volunteering to Tasmania in the past 12 months was $4 billion dollars, this includes the $3 billion it would cost to replace the labour volunteers as well as $1 billion in commercial and civic benefits contributed through volunteering.
The volunteering sector is nearly three times larger than the Tasmanian government sector and 14% larger than the private sector
Australians overall shared first place with New Zealanders in a survey ranking 153 nations on the willingness of their citizens to donate time and money to charity. China ranked near the bottom, barely higher than last-place Madagascar.
The overall rankings were compiled from three categories — the percentage of people who donated money, donated time and helped a stranger in the month prior to being surveyed. New Zealand and Australia topped the index with an average score of 57 per cent, trailed by Canada and Ireland at 56 per cent, and the United States and Switzerland at 55 per cent.
Several of the world’s most populous countries were near the bottom of the index — including India in 134th place, Russia in 138th and China in 147th. Only four per cent of Chinese people donate their time to charity, and only six per cent of Russians donate money, according to the survey.
In the West African nation of Liberia, only eight per cent of the population give money to charity every month, yet 76 per cent regularly help a stranger – more than any other country.