Transcript by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Tamworth Welcomes the Pollie Pedal Afternoon Tea

Location: Bicentennial Park, Tamworth

E & OE


You may have noticed that among the six Federal MPs here, one of us is not like the other. We have a division of labour. Horses for courses. While my colleagues have been putting their bodies on the line for Carers Australia, as disabilities minister I have been visiting organisations and catching up with carers. This morning I was at Challenge, visiting their recycling operation. They’re a terrific disability organisation.

But, what I want to focus on just for a very brief moment as the Minister for Disabilities and Carers is the role of young carers. When we think about carers we tend to think about people who are adults, caring for a family member. But there are over 150,000 people below the age of 18 who are caring for a sibling or caring for a family member. And when you’ve got to juggle your caring responsibilities, your study and often a part time job, invariably something’s got to give. And too often it’s study that gives. So we as a community have got to think about how we can better support young carers.

The other thing I want to mention about carers is, carers won’t always be carers in most circumstances. Their circumstances will change and they will want to re-enter the workforce. And we’ve got to emphasise to employers that if you’ve been a carer, you’re a fantastic multi-tasker, because you’ve had to be.

So we’ve got to support young carers and we’ve got to think about ways of helping carers back into the workforce when their circumstances change. Can I just acknowledge Ara Cresswell and Carers Australia and the fantastic support they’ve provided to the Pollie Pedal. It’s been a great partnership and Ara, we look forward to the days ahead. Thanks very much.