Minister donates for Orange to start timebanking initiative

COMMUNITY VISIT: Volunteer Jara Lovecek, Minister John Ajaka and Nationals candidate Scott Barrett. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
COMMUNITY VISIT: Volunteer Jara Lovecek, Minister John Ajaka and Nationals candidate Scott Barrett. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

VOLUNTEERS who dedicate their time to helping others could benefit from a time based bartering system that will be established in Orange.

The timebanking initiative would see volunteers receive a credit for each hour of volunteering and they can exchange that credit for support for someone else.

It will be made possible with a $15,000 donation presented at the Orange Community Information and Services Centre by the minister responsible for volunteering and disability services John Ajaka during a visit to Orange on Friday.

“Timebanking is a perfect example of the so-called ‘volunteer sharing economy’. The more you give the more you get,” Mr Ajaka said.

“All over the state, timebanking is enriching people’s lives, boosting volunteerism and making communities stronger.”

Mr Ajaka said NSW has the largest timebanking system in the world with more than 6300 members, 500 organisations and more than 25,500 hours of support exchanged and most volunteers were either seniors or aged between 15 and 17.

“If we put a dollar sign on the volunteering we know about it would be $5 billion a year and that’s just the volunteering we know about, I think you could take that $5 billion and actually double that,” he said. 

During his visit, Mr Ajaka also opened an accessible tourism forum at Orange City Bowling Club that involved representatives from Central West councils, disability support services and cafes and restaurants.

“Everyone regardless of their age or disability should be able to enjoy everything our great and beautiful state has to offer,” he said.

During his opening speech Mr Ajaka said there were 1.3 million people with a disability and the sector was worth $8 billion in tourism representing 11 per cent of the tourism market in 2010.

“I think there’s more that can be done to support this, there’s more the government and community can do,” he said.

Local Government NSW chief executive Donna Rygate also addressed the forum and has been working with councils across NSW to help them improve accessibility for people with disabilities in terms of public spaces, encouraging businesses to improve access to providing information on accessible tourism services.

She said if a town was not accessible for people with a disability, they would not visit the town and would take their holidays elsewhere.