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Young carers deserve a secure future.



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Senator Meg Lees Australian Progressive Alliance Senator for South Australia 26 June 2003

MEDIA RELEASE

Young Carers Deserve a Secure Future Australian Progressive Alliance Senator, Meg Lees, today introduced a Private Members’ Bill to the Parliament aimed at supporting young people who play an important role as carers in our community.

The Social Security Amendment (Supporting Young Carers) Bill 2003 will remove the current restriction which prevents young people on the carer’s payment of about $220 per week from studying and working for more than 20 hours per week.

“The current restriction severely limits the ability of young carers to improve their prospects or to provide some financial security for themselves while fulfilling their caring responsibilities,” said Senator Lees.

“Young people caring for a family member make a big sacrifice. They spend many hours per week providing assistance with mobility, administering medications, cooking and cleaning.

“The 20 hour restriction must be removed if they are to continue to study at school, university or TAFE or to do some part-time work which might lead to some financial security in their futures.

“We all tend to see carers as adults but the reality is a substantial number of carers are still at school or university.

“Most of them are caring for a parent and already come from a low-income household.”

There are 18,800 primary carers under the age of 25 in Australia. (NSW 6,200 - VIC - 4,500 - QLD - 5,000 - SA - 1,000 - WA - 1,100 - TAS - 600). Almost 3000 of these are under 15.

Carers Australia has given its full support to Senator Lees in putting up this Bill. The President of Carers Australia, Louise Gilmore said “This is an issue that should have been fixed long ago, so it is pleasing that Senator Lees is driving it further through this Bill. We ask that the Government and other Senators support it.”

“I encourage all senators to read a recent report by the Department of Family and Community Services entitled Young Carers Research Project for information on the vital work carers undertake,” said Senator Lees.

“These young people deserve our support,” Senator Lees concluded.

Media Requests for Senator Lees: Kerrie Thornton 02 6277 3203 or 0438 816 376 For comment: Louise Gilmore, President, Carers Australia 0407 960 688

www.megsdesk.com