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Saturday 8 January 2005

Free fares for Australian volunteers

Thousands of Australian volunteers will be offered taxpayer-funded flights, medical insurance and support to travel overseas to help tsunami victims throughout Asia, under one of the biggest peacetime aid operations in the nation's history.

Australian Volunteers International chief executive Dimity Fifer said talks were under way to finalise a new long-term aid package for volunteers to "reach out" to tsunami affected regions.

"Basically, a volunteer is totally funded, they get medical insurance, flights and a local wage. Some will continue to be paid by employers but will be supported to travel overseas. I think it will create a new culture of volunteering and global understanding in Australia."

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