Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Young carers’ voices heard

The challenges facing young carers as they try to juggle their demanding caring responsibilities with the daily routine of studying, holding down a job or just staying in touch with their friends, can be daunting.

Recognising this, last year the Australian Government funded Bring It! Young Carers Forum to give young carers a voice and listen to what they need.

Today Carers Australia released the final report from the forum.

The Government will carefully consider the report’s recommendations in conjunction with the findings of the House of Representatives Inquiry into Better Support for Carers.

We understand that caring for a parent, brother or sister can impose enormous responsibility on children and young people.

Many miss out on the ordinary activities and pastimes of growing up because of the constant, daily routine of caring.

There are more than 170,000 young carers in Australia under the age of 17 and around 380,000 under 25 years old.

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.

A range of information, referral and advice services is also offered under the program.

Young carers will also benefit from the increased support announced in the 2009-10 Budget, including the new $600 Carer Supplement and the increases to Carer Payment.

I thank Carers Australia for coordinating the forum and welcome the report.