Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

13 000 more carers to receive carers allowance

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today announced that the Senate last night passed legislation which will help more than 13 000 carers.

‘I have worked hard to get this important initiative introduced as soon as possible. Carers will now benefit from these changes seven months earlier than originally anticipated when this $122.8 million measure was announced as part of the 2004-05 Budget, ‘ said Senator Patterson.

‘The Carer’s Allowance will be extended to carers who do not live with the people for whom they provide substantial levels of care on a daily basis.

‘This demonstrates the Howard Government’s commitment to people with disabilities and the frail aged, who have the right to live and be supported in the home of their choice and may not need to have their carer live with them.

‘This change will make a real difference to carers around Australia. It recognises it is not always possible or appropriate for a carer and the person they care for to live in the same home.

‘To qualify for this allowance, the carer must care for a person with a disability, severe medical condition, or who is frail aged.

‘They must provide personal care on a daily basis amounting to a minimum of 20 hours a week, with the person being cared for assessed as requiring this level of care under the Adult Disability Assessment Tool currently used in Carer Allowance assessments.

‘Assistance for non co-resident carers has been an issue of some concern in the community and this change to legislation demonstrates that the Howard Government is listening to the people of Australia,’ Senator Patterson said.

Carers will be able to benefit from this initiative as soon as the Family and Community Services and Veterans Affairs Legislation Amendment (2004 Budget Measures) Bill 2004 receives Royal Assent.

This measure is a component of the Australian Governments $461 million Carers Package which was announced in the 2004-05 budget.