Frequently asked questions

    Are volunteers covered by insurance?

    Volunteers are insured by the department through the Queensland Government Insurance Fund.

    Volunteer cover is very similar to that received by staff and it includes personal injury, property damage and public liability insurance as a result of an Occurrence during the Period of Insurance whilst the volunteer was acting in their official capacity as a Volunteer.

    The personal injury insurance is paid in accordance with the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003.

    Do I have to do volunteer work to gain employment with the department?

    No, positions with the department are filled on the basis of an open merit-based selection. The selection criteria do not require you to have performed any volunteer work. However, you may wish to take up volunteer work in an area related to your vocational expertise in order to demonstrate and hone your work-related skills.

    What is the difference between work experience, volunteering and industry placements?

    Work experience is for students only and gives them an opportunity to attain valuable on-the-job experience in the discipline with which they are currently studying or plan to study. These students are usually from tertiary and vocational institutions, but can also include secondary students. Work experience arrangements are made in conjunction with the student, institution and department.

    Volunteering is an option for any individual who would like to donate their time and labour for the gain of Queensland’s environment.

    Industry placements are arrangements made by students in order to meet their curriculum requirements. They are normally only required by vocational and tertiary students.

    What if I am obliged to perform volunteer work to receive a social benefit?

    Volunteers must be acting of their own free will. If a person is obligated to perform work to receive a social benefit (e.g. a Centrelink) payment, then any work they do as a volunteer for the department does not qualify towards that obligation.

    Are there any age limits for volunteers?

    The minimum age limit to volunteer at the department is 13 years old. There is no maximum age limit.

    What level of commitment is required to be a volunteer?

    This varies. For instance, some programs have rosters with scheduled commitments. Similarly, in order to maintain skills and expertise, certain programs require their trained volunteers to commit themselves on a fairly regular basis. However, many programs exist where the level of commitment is highly flexible and a volunteer is free to participate in activities at their discretion.

    You should discuss this matter with the volunteer co-ordinator for any program that interests you.

    Do I need any special skills to be a volunteer?

    In most cases any training needs will be met by the volunteer coordinator who will ensure you are provided with orientation, induction, skills and any other training necessary to perform your volunteer role. Previous special skills or abilities are rarely required.

    This is also a matter that you should discuss with the volunteer coordinator for any program that interests you.

    Do I need to complete any paperwork before I can volunteer?

    Yes, you will need to be registered as a volunteer and attend/complete any induction and skills training required. The volunteer coordinator will guide you through these tasks.

    How do I know what volunteering opportunities are available?

    See: Volunteering opportunities

    Does the department offer other work experience or industry placements?

    See the information on Industry placements.

    There are very few opportunities to perform continuous (daily) volunteer work at one place for long periods (e.g. 3–6 months). However, it may be possible to arrange volunteer engagements at a couple of different places.

    Is financial assistance available?

    No, volunteers should plan to be fully self-sufficient and will need to meet their own food, clothing, travel, accommodation etc. expenses. Reasonable out-of-pocket expenses may be reimbursed but this would be subject to receiving prior approval from the department.

    There may be occasions at certain areas, outside the metropolitan regions, that spare staff accommodation is available for volunteer use from time to time. You should discuss this with the volunteer program coordinator.