90 second statement – Carers Week
Mr PITT (Hinkler) (16:40): Last week I had the absolute pleasure of meeting some members of STEPS Care for Carers group at Childers, a small town in the middle of my electorate. They are a small group of dedicated seniors who are full-time carers of a family member. I thank Carol Hawkshaw for inviting me to attend. The meeting was held at Forest View Aged Care at Childers, which is an exceptional facility. It was great to get the opportunity to get direct feedback from those involved in using government systems.
There are some 2.7 million unpaid carers in Australia, many of whom are so modest and humble that they do not identify themselves as carers. Carers often experience social isolation and financial hardship as a result of their caring responsibilities. Volunteer carers play a vital role in our communities. They are part of the social glue that holds them together. Without them the cost to taxpayers of caring for those in need would be significantly higher than it is today. That is why we must support our volunteers to care for their loved ones.
Carers aged 25 years or younger have until 28 September to apply for one of more than 330 bursaries worth $3,000 each to help them continue their education. I urge young Hinkler carers who are juggling part-time work, study and their caring responsibilities to apply for the 2016 Young Carers Bursary Programme. Next month, 11 to 17 October, is National Carers Week. I hope other members and senators will join me in raising community awareness of the issue and thanking our carers for the extraordinary work that they do.