Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Carers Week pays tribute to unsung heroes around Australia

Carers Week 2008 is a time to reflect on the vital role carers play in our community and to acknowledge the enormous personal and financial sacrifices carers make.

The theme for this year’s Carers Week (19 – 25 October) – because I care – is a fitting description of the selfless service that carers give every day.

Carers are unsung local heroes. The Australian Government recognises and values their incredible devotion, sacrifice and hard work.

There will be some immediate financial relief to Carer Payment and Allowance recipients, as part of the Government’s Economic Security Strategy.

Those on Carer Payment will receive $1,400 for singles and $2,100 for couples, while Carer Allowance recipients get $1,000 for each eligible person being cared for. Disability Support Pensioners will also benefit from the payments.

Carers around Australia will get lump sum payments from 8 December.

State break down of carers receiving the Government’s down payment on reform:
State/Territory Carer Payment

Carer Allowance

ACT 710 4,179
New South Wales 50,447 148,244
Northern Territory 709 1,981
Queensland 24,605 81,447
South Australia 10,320 36,006
Tasmania 4,881 12,378
Victoria 34,253 114,356
Western Australia 8,184 31,683
TOTALS 134,109 430,274

These lump-sum payments are a down payment on longer term reform to the pension system, which will be delivered in the 2009-10 Budget context.

This package builds on the $822 million to support and recognise carers in the Government’s first budget.

Last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics released a new report A Profile of Carers in Australia.

This report highlighted that more than half of primary carers provided 40 or more hours of care per week – the equivalent of a full-time job.

The additional support to carers included bonus payments and $293.6 million over five years to respond to the Carer Payment (child) Review recommendations.

From 1 July 2009 the eligibility process will be fairer and more generous and will be based on the level of care required.

Around 19,000 carers of children with severe disability or medical conditions will benefit from the changes in the first year alone.