Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Queensland still to accept Howard Government’s offer on respite care

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson has today attacked the Queensland Government over its failure to accept an offer by the Howard Government to provide $13.1 million in respite care for older carers.

The Howard Government is offering Queensland funding over four years to provide additional respite services for older parents in the state who care for their adult sons and daughters with a disability.

Senator Patterson, speaking at a Sunshine Coast Ageing and Disability Network conference in Maroochydore, encouraged the Queensland Government to sign a bilateral agreement with the Howard Government.

“This agreement, when matched by the Queensland Government, would provide support for the many parents in Queensland who make the commitment to provide life-long care for their sons and daughters with a disability,” Senator Patterson said.

“With all but one other state already responding positively to our offer, it is extremely disappointing that Queensland is still not willing to assist older carers.

“In last year’s Budget, the Howard Government committed $72.5 million over four years to increase access to respite care services Australia-wide, subject to state and territory governments matching our contribution.”

Under the agreement older carers would receive:

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

“The agreement highlights the importance of a whole-of-government approach to meeting the needs of people with disabilities and their carers, and ensures the contribution carers make in the community continues to be recognised.

“The Howard Government remains committed to supporting the extraordinary efforts and dedication of these carers. We encourage Queensland to show the same support and match our offer,” Senator Patterson said.