Family carers of people with a disability, mental illness, chronic condition or who are frail and aged are the most hidden and unrepresented community in Australia. Their unpaid care saves the Australian taxpayer over $19 billion annually, by keeping people in need of care in their homes and out of high cost residential care and health care facilities.

The neglect of family carers by successive governments is a national scandal and a deep injustice. People Power aims to rectify this injustice by increasing supports for Australia’s 2.7 million carers, and introducing genuine choice and options for carers in undertaking their caring roles.

People Power stands for

ü Person-centred arrangements (services and institutions should be tailored to meet the personalized needs of family carers and the people they care for)
ü Empowerment of carers and families (supports for carers should transfer resources and capacity to individual carers, families and their agents, enabling them to grow in community, rather than isolation and powerlessness)
ü Choice (individualised funding arrangements should become the norm in funding services to carers so they can choose the lives they want to build)

People Power will

  • Increase by threefold the Carer Allowance to $135 per week for the 322,000 carers currently in receipt of the Allowance.
            

  • Extend eligibility for the Carer Allowance to an additional cohort of 322,000 carers as a first step towards addressing the unmet need of many carers for income support.
            

  • Broaden the narrow definition of profound disability used for Carer Payment eligibility for children under 16.
            

  • Remove the 25 hour per week limit on work or study without losing eligibility for the Carer Payment.
            

  • Introduce a Respite Entitlement assigned directly to family carers or their agents as a respite service voucher, adjusted with a severity-of-disability and difficulty-in-caring rating. The Respite Entitlement may be used to purchase in-home respite or center-based respite according to the preference of the carer.
            

  • Broaden eligibility for assistance with the cost of continence products under the Continence Aids Assistance Scheme to people of all ages and permanent incontinence.
            

  • Increase the current $470 per year maximum rate of assistance with continence aids to $700.

People Power Carer Policy Contact : Vern Hughes  
        

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