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Young careers an inspiration to us all.

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Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens

Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector Parliamentary Secretary Assisting the Prime Minister for Social Inclusion 28 November, 2008

Media Release

Young carers an inspiration to us all

Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector, Senator Ursula Stephens, this week met with a delegation of young carers and said their stories were an inspiration.

The young carers were attending the Bring It! Young Carers Forum at Parliament House, Canberra.

The delegation discussed their day to day lives as carers, the challenges they face including the barriers they face to social participation and their ideas for the future.

"These young people are amazing. Not only because they are managing responsibilities at a young age that most of us wont experience in our lifetimes but because they had a new, articulate and informed vision about ways in which we can improve the lives of carers and those that they care for" Senator Stephens said.

As part of their forum the young carers participated in four key discussions on identification, education, respite and connections to Government services. Senator


Stephens said that this kind of input from young carers was invaluable.

"We had a good discussion on respite care and the young carers had some fresh ideas on how we can work together to build better respite centres and services. These are insights that the Government is very keen to take on board." Senator Stephens said.

There are an estimated 380 000 carers under the age of 25 in Australia, 170 000 of which are under the age of 17.

Senator Stephens said each and every one of these carers plays an important role in our community and it was important to hear their stories and recognise their contribution.

Senator Stephens said the caring responsibilities of these young people often meant they faced extra barriers to participating in community life and an increased risk of social isolation. Senator Stephens said we owe it to them to ensure that they have the opportunity to be socially included.

"The community has a responsibility to ensure that these young Australians - who give so much to our community - have just as much opportunity to participate in the life of our community as all of us.

"This is what the Government is striving to achieve through our Social Inclusion agenda" Senator Stephens said.

Senator Stephens welcomed yesterday's announcement that the Government would provide $15.7 million to extend the Young Carers Program which provides young carers with the opportunity to access respite care to attend education, training and recreational activities through Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres. The Young Carers Program is a critical means by which young carers have the opportunity to participate in their community, to learn new skills and have some recreation time of their own.

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