Recognising Australian carers who make a difference – Carers Week 2011 launch
Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, today launched 2011 Carers Week in an event at Australian Parliament House in Canberra.
Thousands of Australians from across the country will kick off celebrations for this year’s Carers Week on Sunday 16 October which runs through to 22 October.
“Australia’s 2.6 million carers dedicate their time and energy to care for family members, friends or others in the community,” Minister Butler said.
“Carers are the unsung heroes of our country and the invaluable work that they carry out supporting people with needs underpins the lives of many families right across the country.
“Carers Week is an opportunity for the broader community to recognise the enormous social and economic contribution of carers to our communities.”
Minister Butler and Senator McLucas joined peak carer organisation Carers Australia, allied health professionals, advocacy groups, carers and their families as well as a number of Carer Ambassadors.
The Ambassadors include Tania Hayes, who became a carer at twenty-two when her fianc’e was diagnosed with a life threatening brain tumour.
“Anyone, anytime can be a carer,” Senator McLucas said, which is the theme for this year’s Carers Week.
“Tania’s story highlights that any one of us can become a carer in an instant.”
“We know that one in eight Australians provide care to family members and friends who have a disability, mental or terminal illness, chronic condition, or who are frail. Carers Week is an important opportunity to recognise their ongoing contribution.”
Minister Macklin said the Australian Government was determined to ensure that the work of carers does not go unrecognised.
“The Gillard Government launched the National Carer Strategy in August, helping to ensure that carers have the same rights, choices and opportunities as other Australians,” Ms Macklin said.
The Strategy includes $60 million in new funding to support carers, through measures such as a national campaign to raise public awareness of the role and contribution of carers.
The Government is also working together with states and territories to build the foundations for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to improve support for people with disability, their families and carers.
These build on steps the 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.
For more information on the Australian Government funded support services for carers, visit http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/our-responsibilities/disability-and-carers/overview.
To find out more about Carers Week, visit the Carers Australia website,
Carer Ambassador Tania Hayes
Tania Hayes became a carer at twenty-two when her fianc’e, Warren, was diagnosed with a life threatening brain tumour.
Warren became paralysed following surgery to remove the tumour and contracted serious infections such as fungal and bacterial meningitis and golden staph, which prolonged his recovery time and increased his caring needs.
Despite doctor’s suggestions to place Warren in a nursing home, Tania decided to take Warren home and become his full time carer. He spent 447 days in hospital and will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair requiring 24-hour assistance to survive.
Tania has devoted her life to rehabilitating Warren and together they have rebuilt their lives, getting married and having a child.
Tania continues to put her energy into her family and has become a strong advocate for carers across Australia. She is regularly called on as a professional speaker and has written a book about their story, Love Has no Limits.