Happy volunteers supporting Kings Park
Image by Jason Thomas
Mr S.A. MILLMAN: My question will bring us back closer to home, or at least closer to the home of my constituents in Mt Lawley. I direct members to the service summary table on page 201 of budget paper No 2. A number of my constituents enjoy visits to Kings Park and my question is about expense item 1 in the table. I understand that a significant number of volunteers contribute to the Kings Park authority. Can the parliamentary secretary provide some details regarding the activities undertaken by these volunteers? Although we cannot always put a dollar figure on it, what is some of the value that we get from the services provided to the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority by our volunteers?
Mr R.R. WHITBY: As I mentioned before, there is a wonderful tradition of—I know the opposition is interested in this as well—voluntary service. It is a way of leveraging the taxpayer dollar to do more. It certainly shows great love and devotion to Kings Park in particular, which is iconic in Western Australia. In fact, the member is correct. About 1 500 Western Australians are members of about five volunteer groups that generously give their time at Kings Park and also Bold Park. They care for the natural environment, welcome visitors, advance science through aiding in research and help to preserve Western Australian history. The total number of volunteer hours recorded in 2016–17 was more than 38 000. It is an impressive contribution to the state at no cost to Western Australian taxpayers. These services are estimated to be the equivalent of 19 full-time positions and the labour or wages value of that contribution is put at about $1.7 million annually. I guess it is more than the economic return; it is also a priceless contribution because of their engagement and connection, which has a flow-on effect. People get great value out of community service and volunteering. It is a return for not only Kings Park and the state but also the individuals who take part in the volunteer groups. I am sure that they do it for a love of the environment, the city and Kings Park. The volunteers at Kings Park have been very active and the Friends of Kings Park managed to secure a $2.4 million contribution from Lotterywest in July last year to construct a new volunteer hub. This will prove to be a very useful facility in the future. The hub concept was approved by the board in June this year and construction is planned for next year. It will be a great central location for volunteers to be based in and to work from in the park. It will be the home of volunteers in the park. I will also mention the volunteer guides in Kings Park. They provided more than 20 000 hours of service in the past year, so they are really pulling more than their fair share. Their commitment to the community and Kings Park was recently recognised by Volunteering WA in the community group awards for 2016. I have no doubt that some of the member for Mount Lawley’s very own constituents would be among these volunteers. I am sure they would also be recognised and we appreciate the value that they get out of helping to look after such a great, iconic and valuable resource and facility for all Western Australians.
Mr D.C. NALDER: I think it is a huge credit and a wonderful asset that we have in Kings Park. It is fantastic for the people of Western Australia, and the level of volunteering that we have across many facets of our community never ceases to amaze me.