Transcript by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Doorstop Pollie Pedal, Launceston

Location: Pollie Pedal Carers Fair, Launceston

E & OE


Thanks Prime Minister, colleagues, Ara Cresswell, ladies and gentlemen. I always feel like a bit of an imposter at pollie pedal time. Although I’m a great supporter of the pollie pedal and tag along, the Prime Minister rather uncharitably refers to me as the ‘B Team’ – as in I be there at the start, and I be there at the end. But I bring some good news today.

One of the great things about the pollie pedal over the last few years is that it has helped raise the profile of carers, but also particularly the situation of younger carers.

There are around Australia about 300,000 younger carers below the age of 25. And they have to juggle study, often part time work, and their caring responsibilities. And too often, something has to give. And too often the thing that gives is their study.

So we as a government wanted to do something practical to support young carers. And we announced before the last election that we would have a 3 million dollar programme over three years to introduce young carer bursaries, which will provide support to young carers. For things such as a laptop, or course fees, or books. The money goes to the student and they can use that in the way that they think best. And we’ve partnered with Carers Australia to deliver that programme. It’s 150 bursaries a year.

And I’m very pleased to announce that we are in a position to double the number of bursaries. So there will be an additional 150 bursaries this year. 3,000 dollars for each eligible young carer student. It’s a small token of the community’s appreciation for the work that young carers do. And we hope that the additional 150 young carer bursaries will make a difference in the lives of young carers and help them to continue either their school study, or their post-secondary study.
Thanks very much.