Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

National recognition for carers across Australia

The Australian Government is taking a significant step forward in recognising the vital role of carers in the community with the development of a National Carer Recognition Framework.

The framework will recognise, in legislation, the role and contribution of carers.

It will encourage community understanding and recognition through national acknowledgement of the commitment and dedication of carers.

It will also set down national goals – to give carers the opportunity to enjoy good health and wellbeing, and to fully participate in community life.

The development of the Framework follows the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family, Housing, Community and Youth on the Better Support for Carers inquiry, calling for increased community awareness and recognition of carers.

The Framework will include a National Carers’ Strategy, establishing principles and objectives to guide policy development and service delivery for carers.

Every day, carers work tirelessly providing support and assistance to those in need, while putting their own lives on hold.

Carers make substantial personal and financial sacrifices – often experiencing poorer health, financial hardship and unemployment.

The development of the carer legislation will be informed by a review of existing state and territory carer recognition legislation and policy, and will be introduced into Parliament in 2010.

In furthering our efforts to recognise and assist carers, the Government will provide more than $430,000 this year to Carers Australia for Carer Recognition Grants.

This will help Carers Australia work with carer organisations across the country to provide activities to recognise and support carers.

Today’s announcements coincide with the beginning of Carers Week: Anyone, Anytime Across Australia which highlights that carers’ experiences and needs are diverse and anyone may need to take on caring responsibilities at some point in life.

Recipients of Carer Payment have recently received an increase to their pension of up to $70.83 a fortnight for singles, as part of the Australian Government’s Secure and Sustainable Pension Reforms.

In addition, around 500,000 carers have received the first payment of their annual, ongoing Carers Supplement of $600 for each person they care for.