Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

National Carer Strategy – interview with Steve Vizard – 3MTR

Program: MTR Mornings

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STEVE VIZARD: Jenny, good to talk to you.


STEVE VIZARD: I want to talk to you about these two-point-six million dollar carers; you’re making a boost to funding for them, aren’t you?

JENNY MACKLIN: Two-point-six million carers in Australia are doing an incredibly important job. And today we’ve had a first for them and for Australia and that is with the launch of the National Carer Strategy. We had quite a few carers over in the Victorian Carer Association office over in Footscray. And it was a very exciting time for everybody there.

One of the things that one of the carers who spoke today really emphasised was the need to really bring out into the open what carers do. So it’s really good, Steve, that you’re wanting to talk about it and wanting to recognise too, that not only there are so many carers two-point-six million of them but of course they’re doing lots and lots of different types of caring.

It might be caring for the elderly; there was a mother today caring for a Down Syndrome child. It can be caring for somebody who’s had a terrible accident. So people come in all sorts of, with all sorts of different responsibilities, and of course that means with very, very different needs.

STEVE VIZARD: A lot of these people are doing it either for nothing or for basically for stipends that bear no relationship to what the real wages going around are. If you suddenly had to pay for these services, these very real, these very necessary services that are working below the surface in real hard dollars, it’d really blow your budget apart wouldn’t it?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well there’s no question that carers are making a huge financial contribution, that’s exactly right. Both to the person they’re caring for, but also as you rightly say to the country. One of the things that’s been happening over the last little while you might recall, the Government’s asked the Productivity Commission to do a big inquiry into a National Disability Care and Support Scheme.

And we’ve just received that report. Because people with disability and their carers are very keen to see a new approach in Australia that really recognises that people are carrying very heavy loads as carers. But also people with disabilities aren’t getting the support that they need.

STEVE VIZARD: You raised that Productivity Commission Report into long-term disability care and support.


STEVE VIZARD: You’re providing a boost to funding now.


STEVE VIZARD: Why are you providing that boost ahead of fully digesting the Productivity Commission’s report?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well of course there are things we can do now that we know are urgently needed now. So I am really pleased to be able to announce today an extra sixty million dollars that will go to a number of areas that really do need extra money right now.

One area for example is that we’re improving access to the carer allowance for carers who are looking after a child with Type 1 or juvenile diabetes. And there were quite a few of them there today they were obviously very pleased with the recognition of the need for extra support that they are getting.

And just to choose one other area in the money that we’ve announced today which is actually the smallest amount of money, but at one level people are very thrilled about. We’ve responded to a call from Carers Australia to have a National Awareness Campaign and that might seem to you and me who know people who are carers not necessary. But I think it is a really good idea to really bring out the jobs that carers do and enable people to talk more openly about it.

STEVE VIZARD: Jenny Macklin, good to talk to you. I think it’s an important recognition for an important sector of our community. Two-point-six million Australians are carers; provide support in all sorts of ways. There’s some recognition and hopefully more to come.

Jenny Macklin, Minister for Families, Housing et cetera, et cetera, great to talk to you again.

JENNY MACKLIN: Thank you, Steve.