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Tuesday, 30 November 1965

Mr Hayden n asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

1.   Does the Government help the body known as Australian Volunteers Abroad by subsidising the organisation or its volunteers in any way?

2.   If so, what are the details?

3.   Is he able to state whether, although there are volunteers waiting to serve this body abroad in its praiseworthy activities and their services can be readily used and are in fact needed for projects in under-developed nations, the services of many of them are not being utilised because of the inadequate manner in which the organisation is being helped by the Government?

Sir Robert Menzies - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows -

1.   Yes. The Government's decision on this matter was announced on 7th November by the Ministers for External Affairs and Territories.

2.   The Government's assistance to the Overseas Service Bureau for its Australian Volunteers Abroad Scheme will be in the form of annual grants towards the costs of mutually agreed programmes for voluntary overseas service. These programmes will be discussed each year between the Bureau and the departments concerned. The Bureau will need to continue to raise substantial amounts from the public itself. Other important elements of the arrangement are -

(a)   while providing financial assistance to the Bureau, it is the Government's wish to respect as far as possible the independence and the voluntary character of the Bureau and its volunteer activities;

(b)   the Government hopes that its support will encourage continued and expanded support from private sources for the Bureau's work, thus permitting a significant increase in the number of Australian volunteers going to Asia, Africa and the Pacific, as well as to Papua and New Guinea; and

(c)   under the current Australian Volunteers Abroad Scheme, about half of the volunteers are serving in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea and it is expected that, under the new agreement, this will continue. Special attention is being given to the needs of the Territory because of the nature of Australia's United Nations Trust responsibility, the extent of the work of the Christian Missions in the Territory and the present stage of the Territory's development.

3.   See above.

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