Community volunteers commended Wed 17 October 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Rebecca White Parliamentary Secretary for the Cost of Living Download hi-res version The priceless contribution of community sector volunteers has been recognised at a thank you reception during Anti-Poverty Week. The Premier, Lara Giddings, and the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cost of Living, Rebecca White today paid tribute to the hundreds of volunteers who make a vital contribution to charities and community organisations around the state. "It is apt that we are acknowledging the efforts of volunteers and community sector organisations during Anti-Poverty Week. "Many of the organisations working with people living in poverty wouldn't be able to carry out their good work if it wasn't for the time, energy and diverse skills of dedicated volunteers," Ms Giddings said. "This week aims to highlight the issues of poverty and hardship and encourage a community conversation about how we can overcome poverty." Ms Giddings said the Tasmanian Government is committed to addressing poverty and hardship. "We are committed to building jobs and opportunities for the future in order to help break the poverty cycle. "And we are investing in supporting those most in need from providing the most generous concessions system in Australia to funding services to help people manage their budgets. "In the current budget we have prioritized $5 million from the sale of TOTE Tasmania to support a number of programs to assist those most in need." Ms White said the Government is working closely with community groups to deliver cost of living relief to Tasmanians. "These programs are being delivered with the assistance of volunteers in community houses, charities and not-for-profit organisations around the state. "The State Government is providing $1.5 million over 2011-13 to increase emergency relief. "Another $1 million is being distributed through the Food For All Tasmanians grants program to increase access to healthy, safe and affordable food," Ms White said. "We have also provided $180 000 to the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) Network of Tasmania in order to help Tasmanians purchase energy efficient heaters and appliances. "We have also spent $37 million to reduce power bills for all Tasmanians and provided $153 million for pensioner electricity concessions." State Director of Mission Australia and the Tasmanian chair of Anti-Poverty Week, Noel Mundy, welcomed the Government's commitment to working with community agencies to address the needs of low income and disadvantaged Tasmanians. "The opportunity to recognise the contribution of volunteers during Anti-Poverty Week is another reminder that if governments, service providers and the broader community work together, we can make a positive difference in our communities," Mr Mundy said.