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Volunteering rates high in regional South Australia.

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The Hon. Tony Burke MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Volunteering rates high in regional South Australia

17 April 2008 DAFF08/040B

Regional South Australia has the nation’s highest proportion of community volunteers, according to a new analysis of economic and social trends in rural and regional Australia.

The 2008 Country Matters: Social Atlas of Rural and Regional Australia, developed by the Bureau of Rural Sciences, was released today by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke.

“South Australia is leading the nation’s rural areas for participation in volunteering,” Mr Burke said.

“In the areas of Elliston, Cleve and Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula, 45.6 per cent of people were volunteers - a great reflection on those communities.”

Although volunteer rates varied across different groups in the population, women tended to volunteer more than men (36 per cent compared with 32 per cent).

Across Australia, in 2006 more than one quarter of people in rural areas (27 per cent) undertook voluntary work, which was much higher than the national average of 19.8 per cent.

“People in regional areas are passionate about their communities and they’re exactly why rural Australia is so resilient,” Mr Burke said.

The Atlas also reveals:

• the area with the oldest median age in Australia was Victor Harbour (south of Adelaide) with a median age of 54.4 years • South Australia had the greatest proportion of mothers with dependents participating in the workforce in regional centres, small towns and rural areas • on Kangaroo Island, 81.4 per cent of mothers with dependent children were

participating in the labour force • Roxby Downs had South Australia’s highest level of post-secondary school qualifications and training - 61.2 per cent of the population, compared with the Australian average of

52.5 per cent and • Southern Mallee recorded 100 per cent retention of 16-year-olds in full-time education.

The Atlas primarily draws on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2006, 2001 and 1996 Population Census. It is produced by the Bureau of Rural Sciences, within the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

To use the Atlas online visit:

(The Atlas defines regional centres as 1000 to 100,000 people, small towns as 200 to 1000 people, and rural areas as fewer than 200 people.)