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Government Honours Australia's overseas volunteers



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Sent By: Media Monitors A u s t r a l i a ; 123; 12-Aug-98 6:10PM; Page 13/21

M E D I A R E L E A S E ^

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS ALEXANDER DOWNER

AA77 12 August 1998

GOVERNMENT HONOURS AUSTRALIA’S OVERSEAS VOLUNTEERS

I am pleased to honour the tremendous contribution made by Australians who have served overseas as volunteers, devoting their time and expertise to improving the lives of people in developing countries.

These dedicated individuals are part of the human face of Australia’s overseas aid program and the Australian Government believes their invaluable contribution deserves to be recognised through a program of certificate award ceremonies.

I will be launching the certificate award ceremonies in Sydney tonight where around 70 returned volunteers from New South Wales will take part in a ceremony at the Town Hall involving, where possible, their local Members of Parliament.

Australian’s compassion for people worse off than ourselves is well known with our generosity vividly demonstrated in the overwhelming response to the recent tidal wave disaster in Papua New Guinea.

Australian volunteer programs harnessing this compassion and generosity have been run by organisations such as the Overseas Services Bureau, Australian Executive Service Overseas Program and the Paulian Association since the 1960s.

Over 5000 qualified Australians have taken part in these volunteer programs working in developing countries in areas as diverse as seed technology, teaching, radiography and panel beating.

On their return home, volunteers enrich our society sharing their experiences with other Australians and helping to maintain the links between Australia and our aid partner countries. .

Recognising the contribution volunteers can make, the Government is giving up to 500 young Australians the opportunity to work on development projects in the Asia- Pacific region through the Youth Ambassador Scheme. Applications for the scheme will be called later this month.

The Australian Government assists volunteer aid programs through funding grants to non-government organisations. Over $17 million has been allocated for this financial year.

Media contacts: Innes Willox (Minister’s office) 02 6270 7500/0419 206 890 Lyn Dunlevy (AusAlD) 02 6206 4966/0417 683 767 The function will be held at the Sydney Town Hall, 483 George Street at 8pm tonight, Media representatives are welcome