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Carers to be disappointed by Labor's announcement.

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Minister for Aged Care 22 October 2001


Carers around Australia will be greatly disappointed by Labor's announcement for carers because it is long in rhetoric but very short of new financial or other commitments, Federal Aged Care Minister Bronwyn Bishop said.

The announcement by Opposition Leader Kim Beazley contains no new initiatives. The $37 milllion in capital funding for respite carers has already been announced in their aged care policy. Labor has also not factored in a commitment for recurrent expenditure. The $46 million for Mental Illness and the $17 million for Palliative Care was announced in their public hospital policy. It is not apparent in the carers policy or the public hospitals policy that these measures will benefit carers.

"It is ironic that Labor talks about giving carers a break from their duties because it was the Coalition Government that introduced a National Respite for Carers Program in 1997," Mrs Bishop said.

"Funding for that program has now reached $73 million in 2001-02 because of the commitment of the Coalition. Labor ignored the important issue of respite when they were in Government."

The Coalition Government established the Carer Resource Centres in every State and Territory, which provides information and advice to carers where they can get help and how long they can provide better support for the person in their care.

There are 82 Carer Respite Centres around Australia benefiting from funding worth $25.8 million in 2001-2002. The role of the Carer Respite Centres have been expanded to provide services to carers of people with dementia and challenging behaviour and some 100,000 carers are assisted each year through the services.

"The Coalition Government already gives grants to Alzheimers Association and the National Carers Association to develop educational and training materials for carers and advise carers on how to provide better care," Mrs Bishop said.

"In addition to the National Respite for Carers Program, respite is available through the residential care program, Day Therapy Centres and the Commonwealth's mental health and palliative care programs."

"The Coalition will release its Carers Package in the near future. This will provide substantially more recognition than Mr Beazley of the valuable work that carers do," Mrs Bishop said.


MEDIA CONTACT : Andrew Cummins, Minister Bishop's Office - 0401 995 533