Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

One-off payment windfall for Australia’s carers

The Howard Government, as part of the 2005-06 Budget, will provide funding of nearly $317 million to pay a one-off bonus to all eligible carers.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today said the measure was in recognition of carers’ valuable role in our society.

“I am pleased to once again be offering these one-off bonus payments, recognising the extraordinary effort of carers and as a result of the Howard Government’s sound economic management,” Senator Patterson said.

“This payment will provide carers with better support when providing care for their relatives and friends who have a disability or are frail aged.

“Under this Budget measure, a key feature will be the repeat of the one-off Carers Bonus paid last Budget.

“A bonus of $1,000 will be provided to current eligible recipients of Carer Payment and a bonus of $600 will be paid to Carer Allowance recipients for each eligible care receiver. Subject to the passage of legislation, payments will be made to the majority of eligible carers before the end of June 2005,” Senator Patterson said.

Carer Payment is a means tested income support payment paid to a person with limited income who provides constant care for someone with a disability or frail aged.

Carer Allowance is not means tested and is an income supplement paid to people who provide daily care and attention at home to a person with a disability or who is frail aged.

“This year’s Budget measures continue the Howard Government’s strong commitment to carers and builds on last year’s Budget initiatives where carers were given more flexibility and support in their care arrangements:

  • Carer Allowance eligibility was expanded and Carer Allowance is now available to eligible carers who do not live with the person for whom they provide substantial levels of personal care on a daily basis; and
  • Additional funds were provided for respite care for older carers who are caring for their sons and daughters with disabilities; as well as a package for young carers, including respite services, telephone help line and age appropriate information.

“The Howard Government recognises the range of care needs, differing care situations and the long-term commitment of carers and will continue to provide support and assistance,” Senator Patterson said.