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Sport Australia and AIS acknowledge volunteers for delivering the ‘most important job in sport’

Sport Australia and AIS acknowledge volunteers for delivering the ‘most important job in sport’
May 18, 2021

Sport Australia acting Chief Executive, Rob Dalton is encouraging Australians to consider the many benefits volunteering in sport brings this National Volunteer Week.

Advising that volunteers are needed now more than ever to help rebuild sporting communities, Dalton commented “the job that changed my life didn’t come with a salary, but it has helped me earn everything I have.”

Dalton was 17 and upon arriving for his first day of training at Victoria’s largest hockey club, Camberwell, was told he’d be coaching a junior team. He chose the Under 10s describing it as his sliding doors moment and the day he discovered one of the most important jobs in Australian sport - volunteering.

He recalls “volunteering has given me stronger family connections, professional networks, lifelong friends and skills I didn’t know I wanted or needed. Sport is incredibly lucky to have the largest volunteer base of any industry in Australia with 3.1 million volunteers donating their time to sport and physical activity each year.”

Acknowledging the importance of volunteers, Dalton went on to say “without volunteers, sport would look very different, they are crucial to the enjoyment and participation of sport at all levels. Whether you’re coaching a team, marking the lines, an official or administrator at a sporting club or organisation or running the canteen, thank you for your dedication and commitment to Australian sport.”

In the past 12 months, Sport Australia has developed a suite of resources to support volunteers in sport including the Return to Sport Toolkit, Participation Design Toolkit, Game Plan and Coaching and Officiating podcast series and has joined forces with Volunteering Australia.

Volunteering Australia Chief Executive, Mark Pearce said the partnership recognises the importance and ongoing contribution of volunteers to Australian sport, noting “one of the most exciting parts of our partnership is investigating ways Australians of all ages and backgrounds can get involved in sport and sporting clubs.

“They make possible those things which make communities and community activities great, and we certainly see this in the context of sport. It would be very hard to imagine how the vast majority of Australian sport could take place without the dedication of volunteers.”

Australian Institute of Sport Chief Executive, Peter Conde went on to say “Australian volunteers make sport tick at every level. As Australians we love to celebrate sporting success, but behind every athlete and every sporting event is a huge assembly of volunteers.

“So, on behalf of the AIS and Australian high performance sport, we celebrate our millions of volunteers and thank you for the contribution you make to Australian sport every day.”

National Volunteer Week from 17th to 23rd May celebrates the significant contribution of Australia’s almost six million volunteers who dedicate their time to help others.

The theme for National Volunteer Week is Recognise. Reconnect. Reimagine.

Image: Robert Dalton speaks to Sport Australia and AIS staff last year. Credit: Sport Australia.

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