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Carers Week 2007: 14-20 October: "Anyone, anytime".

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Senator Jan McLucas Labor Senator for Queensland Shadow Minister for Ageing, Disabilities and Carers

Media Release 12 October 2007

Carers Week 2007: 14-20 October "Anyone, Anytime"

Carers Week provides an important opportunity to recognise and thank family carers for the significant contribution they make to those they care for and society more generally.

As reflected in this year's theme, 'Anyone, anytime' can become a carer - when a family member becomes ill, frail or has an ongoing disability, mental illness or chronic condition.

In 2005 about 2.6 million people - 1 in 8 Australians - were estimated to be providing care to a family member or friend. Of those, 500,000 are primary carers - the people who provide the most care to frail older people or those with a disability.

“The contribution carers make is not only to the people they care for, but also to the community and to the economy more broadly. Labor understands the pressure carers are under and supports their efforts to have their voices heard and their needs recognised," Senator McLucas said.

"Federal Labor also understands that while most family carers see their role as part of being in a family, it can come at great sacrifice. It can be challenging, stressful and prevent them from participating in the workforce.

"The demand for care for those with disabilities and older Australians is projected to grow significantly over the next 25 years, at the same time the number of available carers is likely to fall.

"Australia's 2.6 million carers need a Federal Government that can deliver coordinated services that reflect a high level of cooperation across Government departments. They also need their national Government to take a long-term view to ensure we have policies that support Australia's carers into the future.

"To support these aims, Federal Labor will create an Office of Work and Family within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet which will give the Prime Minister direct involvement in the formulation of policies to get the balance right between work and family life for Australians. The Office will have responsibility to ensure that issues affecting carers are recognised and considered in Government policy.

"An annual State of The Family Report will be published which analyses key issues and trends facing Australian families and will look at critical issues such as the increasing number of parents caring for both children and their ageing relatives."

Activities for Carers Week are taking place across the country and information can be found at:

Contact: Sen Jan McLucas 0407 169 206

Heather Witham 0417 010 734