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Monday, 25 October 2010
Page: 1484

Debate resumed, on motion by Ms Owens:

That this House:

(1)   recognises:

(a)   that the week of 17 to 23 October was National Carers Week;

(b)   that there are more than 2.6 million carers in Australia;

(c)   the caring role is one of immense social and economic value, with carers being the foundation of our health, aged, palliative and community care systems;

(d)   as health care increasingly moves away from ‘institutional’ settings into the home and community, family carers shoulder greater responsibility for managing complex conditions and providing the emotional and physical support for the person for whom they are caring;

(e)   without carers, no future health or community care system will be able to respond to changing demographics and health needs, clinical practices and societal influences, in the long term;

(f)   the Government’s practical measures to improve the lives of carers through significant reforms across the disability, health, mental health and aged care service systems, including:

(i)   delivering a $60 a fortnight increase to the base pension plus an increase of $5 a fortnight in the new Pension Supplement for carers receiving the maximum single rate of Carer Payment (a total increase of around $100 per fortnight, after indexation increases from 20 March);

(ii)   guaranteeing the certainty of an annual ongoing Carers Supplement of $600 for each person cared for, benefiting around 500 000 carers;

(iii)   overhauling the complex and restrictive eligibility requirements for Carer Payment (Child);

(iv)   significantly boosting funding to the State and Territory governments for specialist disability services including supported accommodation, in-home care and respite; and

(v)   commissioning the Productivity Commission to examine the feasibility, costs and benefits of a National Long Term Disability Care and Support Scheme; and

(2)   calls on the Government to renew its commitment to carers in this Parliament and to exercise all instruments of policy to support carers in their vital work.