Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Ministers agree to explore options for succession planning for older carers

A plan by Federal Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, to help ageing carers plan for the future of their sons and daughters with disabilities was accepted by a State and Territory Community and Disability Services Ministers’ meeting in Brisbane today.

Ministers have sought advice from a working group of officials from all jurisdictions as to the steps the governments will take to:

  • Consult with older carers of people with disabilities to understand the present unmet needs for support and future needs for care of their sons and daughters.
  • Provide more transparent planning for future service provision and allocation of resources.
  • Provide greater confidence amongst older carers that, with co-operation between the Australian, and state and territory governments, the needs of their sons and daughters will be better met.
  • Enable increased personal/family provision for future care.

I am very pleased the Ministers have agreed to form this working group. It is a significant challenge for all governments, however extremely important for parents who are concerned for their children’s future, said Senator Patterson.

These parents want to know that their adult children will be properly cared for in the future, and they deserve the cooperation of governments to achieve this objective.

That is why I have been personally committed to ensuring all governments face up to this difficult issue. It is an issue which has been neglected in the past, but I am determined to address it.

State and territory Ministers today also agreed to negotiate with the Federal Government on mutually acceptable arrangements to meet the respite needs of carers over 70 years of age.

The Federal Government has allocated $72.5 million over four years for respite for older parents caring for their sons and daughters with a disability, subject to it being matched by state and territory governments.

I am pleased the states and territories have agreed to negotiate further and I hope we can work together to ensure that the needs of older carers continue to be met, Senator Patterson said.

These initiatives highlight the importance of a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of carers of people with disabilities and the need for Australian, state and territory governments to work together in this important area.

The needs of these important members of our community must be addressed at all levels of government with the same tenacity as the Federal Government has employed, Senator Patterson said.