October 18, 2010

AUSTRALIA: Carers Week to honour 2.9 million carers

CANBERRA, ACT / health.gov.au / Press Release / October 18, 2010

Australia's Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler today acknowledged Australia’s 2.9 million carers, for their selfless efforts to care for a loved one who would otherwise need formal care.

At the launch of Carers Week at Old Parliament House today, Mr Butler also welcomed a new report that found the economic value of informal care is estimated to be more $40 billion per year, 33 per cent higher than in 2005.

The Access Economics report produced for Carers Australia, The Economic Value of Informal Care in 2010 revealed the level of Government support, both through welfare support payments and service provision, has increased over the past few years.

“Today around one in eight Australians, or 2.9 million people, are providing informal care to a vulnerable person, with 540,000 people taking on the significant responsibilities as the main carer,” Mr Butler said.

“Carers Week gives us an opportunity to celebrate the efforts of these wonderful people and to let them know we appreciate what they do each and every day.

“Carers come from all age groups, cultural backgrounds and locations. This diversity is celebrated in the theme for this year’s Carers Week, which is ‘Anyone, Anytime’.

The point is that any of us could become a carer if circumstances out of our control were to change and a loved one needed our help.”

Mr Butler said the Gillard Government is committed to better recognising and supporting the nation’s carers.

“We are leading the development of Australia’s first ever National Carer Recognition Framework which will include National Carer Recognition Legislation and a National Carer Strategy that will lead to improved support and services for Australia's family carers.

“The Gillard Government also has many programs in place for carers to take advantage of, including financial support through the improved Carer Payment and Carer Supplement, and respite care through the National Respite for Carers Program.”

Carers Week activities have been planned across Australia to promote and raise awareness of the valuable role that carers play in our society.

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