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Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Page: 6728


Senator CHRIS EVANS (Leader of the Government in the Senate) (3:03 PM) —I seek leave to incorporate in the Hansard an answer to a question asked by Senator Barnett of me, representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs on 16 October. I answered the question as best I could on that day but I offered to get further information.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows—

Follow-up to question asked by Senator Barnett to the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Evans

Question Time - 16 October 2008

Question: Does the Minister know how many very young carers, like Jazzi Pybus, who cares for both her parents at the very young age of 10, exist in Australia? Will the Minister explain why these very young carers are not considered important enough to have their voices heard at the federally funded Young Carers Forum?

Data on young carers

In Australia, there are 170,600 young carers aged up to 17 years and 348,000 young carers aged up to 25 years. 1 From a population perspective, 3.6% of young people aged up to 17 years are carers and 9% of young people aged 18-25 years. Around half the primary young carers are aged up to 17 years, and 80% aged between 18-25 years are female.2

The available data reveals the profile of young carers

  • between one-fifth and one-half live in rural or remote areas3
  • young carers are usually representative of the general population in terms of cultural background
  • most young carers live in NSW, Victoria and Queensland
  • more than one half of primary young carers are caring for a parent, and that parent is likely to be a mother and a sole-parent household
  • it is estimated that one in four young carers are providing care for a person with a mental illness.

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   1       ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2003.

   2       Quoted in Cass, B. 2007. Youth Studies Australia, Vol 26, No. 2 p 47.

   3       1998 ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carer (DAC)

These very young carers, like all young carers, are considered to be important and will have the opportunity to have their voices heard at the Young Carers “Bring it 2008” Forum.

There are 32 young carers who are being funded to come to Canberra to attend this event; four from each State and Territory, ensuring rural as well as urban representation. The young carers attending are also participating in a leadership program to help them represent young carer issues to politicians and to train to be mentors to other young carers when they return home. The leadership program has been designed at a level suitable for people aged fifteen and over and to get the most value out of the forum, participants have been chosen who are able to participate in both the leadership program and the forum.

However all young carers can contribute to the forum by posting questions or comments they would like raised on the “Bring it” website (www.bringit2008.com.au). In addition, Carers Australia has been in touch with the young carer mentioned and offered to tell her story at the forum.