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Caring for the Territory’s carers.

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Joint Media Release

The Hon Julie Bishop MP Minister for Ageing

Mr David Tollner MP Member for Solomon

14 May 2004 JB070/04

Caring for the Territory’s carers

Territorians caring for older Australians will benefit from $370,000 in extra respite services announced in Darwin today by Minister for Ageing Julie Bishop and Member for Solomon David Tollner.

Ms Bishop and Mr Tollner made the announcement during a visit to the Respite Options for Older Australians Service, in Stuart Park. The service is managed by Uniting Church Frontier Services NT.

The new funding will be available immediately and includes:

● $225,000 to enable four Northern Territory Carer Respite Centres obtain much-needed respite

services for local carers. ● $30,000 for the Respite Options for Older Australians service in Darwin for a pilot program to

provide after hours respite care - a service that is being provided in response to the carers’ requests. ● An additional $100,000 for the Respite Options for Older Australians for a pilot respite project in

Alice Springs ● $15,000 for Mutitjulu Disability Respite House to enhance privacy for residents to enable them

to be cared for in a more home-like environment.

Ms Bishop said carers played a major role in assisting people who may find themselves less able to live as independently in the community without the help of their carer.

“Being a carer can be very demanding and we recognise that carers also have needs, and require support, such as taking a well-deserved break from their caring role through respite,” Ms Bishop said.

“These additional funds will give Territorian carers extra respite in their local area.”

Mr Tollner said Respite Options for Older Australians offered specialist respite support to carers for those with dementia who exhibit different behaviours.

“Respite Options for Older Australians also provides day care for care recipients who are temporarily residing in Darwin awaiting return to their home community.

“This additional funding will mean better support for carers in Darwin. There will be more support for in-home respite, including occasional overnight care, social respite, outings to sporting events, shopping, special interest groups and care.

“The centre also provides information on other sources of supports available to local carers.

“I commend all those involved with this service who provide support for our local carers, and those they care for,” he said.

The funding is part of a $2.9 million special allocation of funds for the National Respite for Carer’s Program. Across Australia $1.6 million of this funding will be shared by the 35 Commonwealth Carer Respite Centres, where demand for services has been greatest.

Ms Bishop said the 2004-05 Budget announced last week included major new initiatives to support carers as well as a significant increase in funding for aged care.

“The $461 million package for carers includes is a one-off payment of up to $1000, an extension of Carer Allowance, and more support for young carers and elderly parents caring for a son or daughter with disabilities,” she said.

Media contacts: Rachael Thompson (Ms Bishop) 0417 265 289 Paul Cowdy (Mr Tollner) 0427 150 002