Australia has a long history of supporting international volunteering which began in the 1960's through a development cooperation program. Since this time the Government has continued to support Australian volunteers through the provision of funding and programs.
A review of the 2009 Australian Government Volunteer program found that the program has had a positive impact at various levels from the individual to the organisational through the capacity building provided and people-to-people links formed. The review found that a lack of comprehensive design had weakened implementation and recommended a new approach to the volunteer program. As a result the Government agreed to AusAID developing a new, single brand program for international volunteering.
In October 2009, AusAID publicly called for expressions of interest from organisations with a demonstrated commitment to and capacity in, international development volunteering to become partners with AusAID to design and implement a new volunteer program. Three partner organisations were selected and include Australian Volunteers International, Austraining International and Australian Red Cross.