National Carer Strategy launch to deliver benefits in Isaacs

Mark Dreyfus QC MP, Federal Member for Isaacs, has welcomed the Federal Government announcement that Australia's 2.6 million carers will receive improved recognition and support following the launch of the Federal Government's National Carer Strategy in Victoria yesterday.

Mark Dreyfus QC MP, Federal Member for Isaacs, has welcomed the Federal Government announcement that Australia's 2.6 million carers will receive improved recognition and support following the launch of the Federal Government's National Carer Strategy in Victoria yesterday.

Mr. Dreyfus said the strategy, launched by the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, the Minister for Health and Ageing, Nicola Roxon, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, includes $60 million in new funding over the next four years.

The Strategy delivers on the Federal Government's commitment to better respond to the needs of carers, and helps to ensure carers have the opportunity to take part in all aspects of society, including the chance to participate fully in work, community and family life.

New funding delivered under the National Carer Strategy includes:

  • $42.6 million to extend automatic eligibility for the Carer Allowance (child) for around 2,200 carers of children with Type 1 Diabetes who are aged between 10 and 16 years.
  • $10.3 million to continue the Carer Adjustment Payment, a one-off payment for families who, following a catastrophic event involving a child aged 0-6 years, need additional support to cater to the needs of their child.
  • $2.9 million to improve access to the Carer Supplement for carers who are working when the Supplement is paid in July each year, which will help carers to maintain paid employment.
  • $2.1 million to ensure fairer access to Bereavement Payment, which will provide some assistance to carers receiving Carer Allowance and an income support payment at the difficult time following the death of the person they are caring for.
  • $1.6 million for a national and targeted campaign to raise awareness of the role of carers.

The National Carer Strategy will help to ensure carers have the same rights, choices and opportunities as other Australians. It also aims to help build a society which genuinely values and respects carers.

"Through their hard work and sacrifice, carers greatly improve the quality of life of many people in the electorate of Isaacs and across the country. The National Carer Strategy recognises the invaluable contribution of carers to the Australian community." Mr. Dreyfus said.

"This announcement will come as welcome news for carers in our community who dedicate their lives to looking after their loved ones." Mr. Dreyfus said.

"I would particularly like to acknowledge the carers of children with Type 1 Diabetes, who recently shared their stories with the community about the important role they play in the life of their child and the importance of the carer allowance." Mr. Dreyfus said.

This week, the Australian Government received the Productivity Commission's final report into a long-term disability care and support scheme and will now carefully consider the report.

The National Carer Strategy builds on the work the Government has already done to improve the lives of carers and the people they care for.

This includes:

  • The National Disability Strategy, a ten year reform plan to address the barriers faced by Australians with disability, which was endorsed earlier this year by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).
  • Australia's first national Carer Recognition legislation.
  • Historic increases to the Carer Payment delivered in 2009, now worth $128 extra per fortnight for singles on the maximum rate and $116 extra for couples combined on the maximum rate.
  • A permanent $600 annual Carers Supplement.
  • Simpler and fairer assessment process for Carer Payment (child) and Carer Allowance (child).
  • Doubling Commonwealth funding under the National Disability Agreement, and higher annual indexation, for more and better specialist disability services.
  • A $54.3 million boost to mental health respite services in this year's Budget.
  • More supported accommodation - in 2008, $100 million to deliver up to 313 new places, and this year a further $60 million to deliver an extra 150 community-based supported accommodation or respite places for people with disability.

The National Carer Strategy has been developed in consultation with carers, state and territory governments, service providers and peak organisations.

For more information about the National Carer Strategy, visit www.fahcsia.gov.au