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Meanness towards carers catches up on Howard.

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Wayne Swan MP Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services

Annette Ellis MP Shadow Minister for Ageing and Seniors

Shadow Minister for Disability

The Howard Government’s mean 1998 decision to limit access to carer allowance for parents caring for severely disabled children is now set to create hardship for thousands of parents.

In a sneaky attempt to limit the outcry when it toughened access to the payment five years ago, parents were told they could keep the payment which is now worth $87.70 a fortnight.

Now, those who qualified under the old test are to be tossed off the payment in a crude attempt to cut costs.

The Government’s 1998 changes to the Child Disability Assessment Tool mean that it now measures the functional ability of a child but not the care and attention demanded of the carer.

As a result, thousands of carer’s with disabled children who have applied for the allowance since 1998 have failed to qualify for financial support.

Now parents of children with Cystic Fibrosis, Downs Syndrome, epilepsy and PKU are being subject to a 29 page review that will almost certainly result in them losing access to this important payment.

Labor warned the Government as far back as 1999 that the new assessment tool for carer allowance was deficient and was preventing parents of children with severe disabilities from accessing the payment. (Swan, Hansard 16/2/1999).

Parents of children with severe disabilities deserve to feel cheated losing $2,300 a year in payments, particularly when they have forked out almost five times that amount for the Prime Minister to stay one night in Rome last year.

The Howard Government’s meanness is catching up with it.

ENDS Friday 4 July 03 Web:

Contact: Wayne Swan on 0418 795 329 or Annette Ellis 0419 422 296