Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Better support for carers

The Australian Government’s response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee report: Who Cares…? Report on the inquiry into better support for carers recognises the vital contribution of carers of people with a disability, medical conditions, mental illness and the elderly.

Significant reforms to the disability service and income support systems have already been introduced by the Government in response to concerns raised by carers including:

  • Greater financial assistance and security to carers by increasing the pension rate for carers who receive the Carer Payment by $32.50 per week for full-rate singles and $10.15 per week for couples combined.
  • The introduction of a permanent Carer Supplement of $600 per year for Carer Payment recipients and an additional $600 per year for Carer Allowance recipients for each eligible person in their care.
  • The provision of over $5 billion over five years, through the National Disability Agreement, to states and territories for specialist disability services including 10,000 respite; 2,300 in-home care places and more supported accommodation.

The Australian Government carefully considered the 50 recommendations made by the Committee and will continue to work with carers, peak organisations and state and territory governments to progress most of the recommendations.

We have agreed to develop a National Carer Recognition Framework comprising Commonwealth Carer Recognition Legislation and a National Carer Strategy.

The National Carers Strategy will include consideration of, among other things, the training and skills development needs of carers and the adequacy of case management and care coordination for carers.

Caring can be an isolating role and it is important carers have the opportunity to connect with each other through locally based peer support carer groups run by organisations like Carers Australia.

We will continue to provide funding through community grants programs to support locally based peer support carer groups so carers can talk about their experiences and support each other.

Young carers are under enormous pressure to balance their caring responsibilities with going to school and further education and training.

Last year, the Government announced $15.7 million to extend a national program to help young carers achieve a healthy balance in their lives. Under the Young Carers Program, young carers can get the respite care that is so essential for them to complete their education and training – delivered through the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres.

The Australian Government values the important contribution of carers to the community and will continue to implement recommendations from the Who Cares report.