Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

NSW Carers may soon receive the respite care they deserve

Older parents in NSW who care for their sons and daughters with a disability should soon receive better respite support following the NSW Government’s decision to finally accept the Howard Government’s 16-month-old offer of funding.

As part of the 2004 Budget, the Howard Government announced up to $72.5 million in respite funding for older carers to be matched by the states and territories.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today welcomed the announcement by the NSW Minister for Disability Services, the Hon John Della Bosca, of his intention to accept the offer.

“The NSW and Queensland Governments are the only two remaining states not to have signed the agreement with the Howard Government. Carers across the rest of Australia are already accessing this respite whilst carers in NSW and Qld have been snubbed by their Premiers,” said Senator Patterson.

“This offer has been on the table since May 2004. The NSW Government has failed NSW carers by refusing to negotiate to finalise this agreement earlier.

“On the eve of several by-elections in the state, the belated decision by NSW to match the Australian Government’s funding offer for older carer’s respite may be viewed a little cynically by some older carers.

“Under the initiative, older carers will receive:

  • up to four weeks respite care a year for parents over the age of 70 caring for a son or daughter with a disability; and
  • up to two weeks respite care a year for parents aged between 65 and 69 years who themselves require hospital care and are caring for a son or daughter with a disability.

“Under the agreement more than $48 million of combined funding ($24 million from the Howard Government) over the next three years will be available for additional respite care services for carers across the state,” Senator Patterson said.