The peak body for carers has called for a national strategy and a ministerial advisory council in its pre-budget submission, saying the measures are essential to support an expected increase in informal carers over the next decade.

Liz Callaghan

The needs of the nation’s 2.65 million unpaid carers must be reflected in the October 6 federal budget, Carers Australia CEO Liz Callaghan says.

She says COVID-19 has exacerbated the stresses of performing a caring role and this needs to be recognised in the budget.

“Supporting carers to look after their own health and wellbeing, and enabling them to engage in the workforce should they choose to do so, will have both social and economic benefits,” she said.

“We seek to work in partnership with the Australian Government to build a better future for all unpaid carers by recognising and investing in them.

“With improved supports and representation, carers will be better placed to look after their own wellbeing and enjoy the same benefits and opportunities as all Australians.”

The organisation also wants investment to improve access to technology for carers, additional stimulus payments for carers and funding for an annual national carers conference.

Carers Australia’s seven recommendations:

Ms Callaghan says a national strategy is needed in light of the expected 23 per cent increase in informal carers by 2030.

“A national carer strategy would demonstrate a clear policy focus on the needs of unpaid carers, and for those needs to be addressed in their own right and not as add-ons to supports for other members of our community,” Ms Callaghan said.

A Ministerial Advisory Council would give carers across health, disability and aged care a direct voice in the implementation of policy across portfolios, she added.

View the budget submission here.

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