Q. Is there a cost involved to receive volunteers?
There is no upfront charge to receive volunteers with Outback Links.
Q. How long is a placement?
Volunteers usually help out for 1 to 2 weeks at a time. However, each farmer can receive volunteer help for up to 4 weeks a year.
Q. How much volunteer support can a farmer receive?
A family or individual can receive up to four weeks’ volunteer assistance each year with each placement usually no more than two weeks at a time. This is to be fair to farmers across the Outback Links community – however, this can be changed according to need.
Q. Do I need to provide accommodation?
Accommodation varies from farm to farm. You may have shearer’s quarters or a room available within your home. Some volunteers bring their own caravan, however this needs to be checked beforehand.
Q. Do I need to provide food?
The farmer usually provides food for the volunteers. However, if the volunteer(s) have special dietary requirements or allergies we ask them to bring their own food.
Q. Am I covered by insurance?
Volunteers, in the course of their volunteer activities for Outback Links, are covered for personal injury under the Uniting Church’s Personal Accident Insurance Policies (Voluntary Workers Accident Cover). Volunteers are also protected by the Uniting Church’s Public Liability insurance cover. Volunteers are also protected for driving and travelling for personal injury under the Uniting Church’s Corporate Travel Insurance Cover.
However, please take note that Third Party and Property Damage claims must be covered under the volunteers’ own Comprehensive Motor Vehicle insurance policies.
Q. How do we choose volunteers? What checks do the volunteers do? Are they screened?
The volunteers complete an application form and have an interview. We also conduct a reference check. In addition, they also complete a National Police Check and Working with Children Check.
Q. Do the volunteers need a certain level of fitness?
Volunteers need to be physically fit, as well as mentally fit. However, not all work is physical. There are jobs suitable for most people.
Q. What jobs can the volunteers help with?
There are a variety of different jobs that you can do on a farm. Volunteers help with the day-to-day work on remote properties around Australia when families need an extra pair of hands. Volunteer jobs can include helping around the house, gardening, cooking, school tutoring, feeding the animals, and other ad hoc jobs around the house and farm. Volunteers can also help the farmer with general maintenance, fixing tractors, small plumbing jobs, fixing fences, stock work or even business admin or book keeping.
As well as practical help, volunteers provide a ‘listening ear’ for farmers who are often isolated. Volunteers don’t try to provide the answers but give people an opportunity to talk and come up with their own answers. Volunteers are aware of opportunities to listen, but also know that each person is different and not everyone has the same desire to talk or discuss personal issues.
Q. Do I need to provide anything else?
We ask that the farmer provides volunteers with a tank of fuel on departure.
Q. What are the eligibility requirements?
Eligibility is on a case-by-case basis. However, we use the following criteria to assess whether a farmer is eligible for assistance:
- Physical injury
- Serious illness
- Assisting with care of the aged or sickness
- Recent loss of partner/family member (within the last 12 months)
- Mental illness
- Birth of a new child
- Disaster recovery e.g. after drought, floods or fires
- Peak season relief e.g. harvest or muster
- The work cannot be done by private contractors/other agencies in a paid capacity, or the family or individual are not in a position to pay for the service or are not able to find contractors willing to travel to their property
- No local volunteers are available