Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

$35 million windfall for parent carers in Victoria

Older parents who care for their sons and daughters with a disability will be better supported following the signing of the $35 million Commonwealth State Bilateral Agreement over four years between the Howard and Victorian Governments.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today said the agreement, signed with the Victorian Minister for Community Service, Sherryl Garbutt, will provide additional respite services in Victoria.

“I am pleased Victoria has matched the Howard Government’s offer of $17.4 million over four years. While respite care is a state responsibility, I was determined to ensure that older carers received the support they deserve,” Senator Patterson said.

“This agreement will provide support for the many Victorian parents who have made the huge commitment to provide life-long care for their sons and daughters with a disability. It will give them a well-earned break from their caring duties.”

Under the agreement older carers will receive:

  • access to four weeks respite care a year for parents over the age of 70 caring for a son or daughter with a disability; and
  • access 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.

This builds on the Howard Government’s commitment to supporting carers with measures such as:

  • bonus payments of $1000 for eligible recipients of the Carer Payment and, for Carer Allowance recipients, $600 for each eligible care receiver;
  • extension of Carer Allowance to carers who do not live with the care recipient, but provide substantial personal care;
  • up to five hours each week in-home respite care for young carers to assist them in their education; and
  • a commitment to work with States and Territories to develop options to help older parent carers plan for the future care and accommodation needs of their sons and daughters who have a disability.

“I am delighted to have signed, on behalf of the Howard Government, this bilateral agreement with the Victorian Government, which will ensure the contribution carers make in the community continues to be recognised,” Senator Patterson said.