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Minister pays tribute to sporting volunteers
Federal Minister for Sport Mark Arbib has praised the work of Australia's 1.7 million sporting volunteers, the largest volunteer sector in Australia, to mark the start of National Volunteer Week from 9th to 15th May.
Senator Arbib (pictured) explained "volunteers are the heart and soul of Australian sport. A remarkable 50,000 volunteers worked at the Sydney Olympic Games, making them the best Olympics of all time.
"Without volunteers, major sporting events like these simply could not take place.
"While volunteers come to the fore during major events like the Olympics, the majority of grass roots sport in Australia is organised by small organisations or clubs which depend on volunteers for their existence.
"They are the unsung heroes of Australian sport and we should this week acknowledge and thank them for keeping sport alive in Australia."
Senator Arbib said the Australian Government was developing a National Sport Volunteer Strategy to help maintain the sustainability of sports volunteering in Australia, adding "the strategy will align with the upcoming National Volunteering Strategy and will set out a vision and priorities for sport volunteering in Australia.
"In order to engage volunteers in sport in Australia we need to ensure that we attract their interest and give them the support and encouragement that they need."
Senator Arbib said elite sportspeople like Australian Institute of Sport rower Kim Crow also gave back to the community by volunteering.
"Kim represented Australia at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and is in training for London 2012. And while Kim's dream is to win an Olympic Games gold medal, she also donates a significant amount of her spare time promoting her sport and serving her local community."
Kim has been involved in volunteering for the Red Shield Appeal, as well as public speaking and is an impressive role model for young people at many Melbourne schools and junior rowing camps.
She is also an Olympic Education Ambassador, Problem Gambling Ambassador and is part of the Athlete Legal Aid Committee.
Senator Arbib concluded "volunteers are fundamentally critical to sport in Australia. If it hadn't been for my parents raking the long jump pit at my little athletics competitions, and the coaches who gave up their time to coach me as a kid, I wouldn't have been able to participate in half the sports I did growing up and I would not be where I am now.
"I try to help whenever I am asked. I particularly love any volunteer work that involves inspiring young active women to achieve their dreams because I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the positive female role models such as my mum in my life."
Kim's mum Sue Crow was a pioneering female in sports administration and is the current General Manager of Community at Melbourne Heart Football Club.
Australia's sporting volunteers fulfil roles as diverse as coaches, officials, team managers, administrators, committee members and many more.
4th March 2011 - VOLUNTEERS THE BACKBONE OF WA SPORT
28th June 2010 - RESEARCH LIFTS LID ON MANAGERS OF VOLUNTEERS
30th October 2009 - SPORT EMPLOYS 110,000: SUPPORTED BY 1.7 MILLION VOLUNTEERS
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