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Caring for carers.

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Older Australians and their carers in McPherson will have easier access to respite care and carer support with the announcement of new Australian Government funding contracts for community care, Federal Member for McPherson Margaret May said today.

"This is good news for carers who do such a great job caring for older people to take a break from their demanding and challenging caring role," Margaret said.

"Under new arrangements, the Australian Government is providing funding totalling $505,000 for four aged care providers to offer respite services for local residents. They are -

Gold Coast Family Support Group, West Burleigh St Lukes Care Extended Day Respite, Robina Tarrant House, Mudgeeraba Carer Respite Education and Support, Mudgeeraba

"In addition to these four new and innovative respite services, the Australian Government is also providing $182 million over the next three years through the National Respite for Carers Program and the Commonwealth Carelink Program to make it easier for carers to access information about community care and access to respite services.

"By co-locating Commonwealth Carer Respite Centres, and Commonwealth Carelink Centres in most areas, the Australian Government is making it easier for carers to access respite as well as information about aged care services.

"The successful respite service providers have demonstrated innovative, efficient and simpler service delivery arrangements.

"By offering these services the Australian Government is helping to support local carers, and helping to ensure that older Australians who rely on a carer can remain living at home and in their local community.

"Through these initiatives the Australian Government is realising our vision for a world class system of aged care that provides high quality, affordable and accessible services to meet the individual needs and choices of older Australians", Margaret said.

Since coming to office in 1996 the Australian Government has delivered a sevenfold increase in funding for the National Respite for Carers Program, from less than $20 million in 1995-96 to more than $135 million in 2005-06.

In the 2005 Federal Budget the Australian Government increased support for carers, including a $207 million package of extra respite, particularly for working carers and those in rural and remote areas, and further financial support in the form of a one-off payment for

people in receipt of Carer Allowance and Carer Payment.