Parties to scrap volunteering fees

VOLUNTEER: Carlie Hutchins, reading with reception student Asha Preiss, believes removing the cost of DSCI screenings would make it easier for volunteers.
VOLUNTEER: Carlie Hutchins, reading with reception student Asha Preiss, believes removing the cost of DSCI screenings would make it easier for volunteers.

Volunteer screening may no longer cost individuals or organisations following recent announcements from the Liberal and Labor parties ahead of the state election.

A Department of Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI) screening, which determines a person’s eligibility to work with groups such as children or old people, costs volunteers $58.30.

Without the screening volunteers are not able to give their time to organisations such as schools or sporting clubs.

Cleve Area School has a number of volunteers who help with activities such as reading with the students but deputy principal Natasha Agars said parents and grandparents did not need to get a screening to read with the students.

“It used be that everyone needed to have a screening check but it made very hard for everyone,” Mrs Agars said.

“Then they relaxed a bit and allowed parents and grandparents to help out with things around the school.”

Reception and year 1 teacher Mikaela Irwin said there were not a lot of other volunteers.

“Other than parents and grandparents, we don’t have a lot of other volunteers, and the fact that they have to get the screening is probably a contributing factor,” she said.

“Not having to pay for the screening or wait for long times would definitely help.”

Volunteers at Cleve Area School have to pay for their DCSI screening but parent and volunteer Carlie Hutchins said not having to pay would definitely make a difference.

“Without the screening, you’re very restricted on what you can and can’t do,” Ms Hutchins said

“But the fees can make it hard if you can’t afford it, so it’s quite tricky.

“However, making the screenings free would definitely make a difference with volunteers.”

If elected the Liberal party said it would eliminate the screening fee and the Labor party has promised to provide free screening to volunteers aged 60 or over.

The Greens and Australian Conservatives parties both said they supported the elimination of the fee.