Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Round-the-clock recognition of our carers

In a world first, an orchestra will take centre stage at a free, 24-hour concert this Saturday night in Melbourne to raise awareness of the round-the-clock role of our nation’s carers.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas encouraged all Australians to support the Impossible Orchestra’s never-before attempted feat by heading along to the free live concert or by watching it online.

“For many Australians, caring is a 24 hours a day role. The musicians participating in the Impossible Orchestra will play for 24 hours in support of carers right across the country,” Senator McLucas said.

“There are around 2.6 million unpaid carers in Australia working tirelessly to support family members and friends with disability, medical conditions, mental illness or who are frail or aged.”

“This concert is about raising awareness and recognising their invaluable contribution.

Open to all, the Impossible Orchestra will be performing at the Melbourne Arts Centre and be led by renowned conductor Brett Kelly and will feature more than 270 professional musicians.

Comedians Charlie Pickering, Shaun Micallef and Josh Thomas will step in to relieve the musicians over the 24-hour period and showcase their own musical talents while they’re at it.

Senator McLucas will also take to the stage on Saturday evening where she will play the bass drum.

She said while there was a serious message at the heart of the live concert, Australians would have the chance to enjoy beautiful classical music.

“The orchestra will be playing a range of music that is sure to please everyone, from Tchaikovsky’s lovely Swan Lake Waltz, to Bizet’s dramatic March of the Toreadors from the opera Carmen. The musicians will play for 24 hours over eight sessions. So whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, you will be able to catch the action.

“I’m also excited that the audience can use social media to share the event. Music lovers can post the live stream to their Facebook page for their friends to watch. And keen ‘tweeters’ will be able to use Twitter to join in the conversation using the hash tags #ImpossibleOrchestra and #CareAware.”

The concert will take place at Melbourne Arts Centre’s Hamer Hall from 5pm on Saturday 27 October. Free tickets are available through Arts Centre Melbourne’s website or by calling 1300 182 183.

The Impossible Orchestra event will also be live streamed online through the Care Aware website, Smart phone users can also download the Care Aware app to watch the concert.

The Impossible Orchestra is an initiative of Care Aware, a national campaign funded though the Australian Government’s National Carer Strategy to raise public awareness of the role and contribution of carers.

Senator McLucas said the Australian Government recognises just how important the role of carers in the lives of millions of Australians.

“At the heart of our efforts to support our carers is the Australian Government’s $60 million National Carer Strategy, launched in August last year, which delivers on the Government’s commitment to better respond to the needs of carers.

“Also, our $1 billion investment in the first stage of a National Disability Insurance Scheme will take account of the goals and aspirations of carers, and will support carers of people with disability in their caring role.”

“An NDIS will build on the steps our government has already taken to support carers, such as historic increases to the Carer Payment, a permanent $600 Carer Supplement, and a $53.4 million boost to respite services for carers of people with severe mental illness.”