Carers provide in home care and support to family members or friends who are aged or have a disability. They are one of the groups most impacted by the lack of vision of our Federal Government. Supporting these people is important to Independent candidate Suzie Holt, who has met with carers to hear their concerns during the election campaign. “After being in government since 2013, there are few if any excuses remaining for the lack of action on this front from the Federal Government” she said.
Groom local Mr George Helon is the full-time 24/7/365 primary carer of his mother who has Lewy Body Dementia and is in declining physical health with severe mobility issues and chronic health conditions. He himself is also disabled. He told Ms Holt that according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there are 2.65 million unpaid carers in Australia. Of those carers, 37.4% have a disability themselves, there are 235,300 carers aged under 25, and there are 533,400 carers in Queensland alone.
Mr Helon said that “Over the decades no government has faced the reality of the sacrifices and price we pay as carers head on, but they’re happy to have us quietly working away in the background for next to nothing, saving them billions of dollars in unpaid care whilst we suffer physically, mentally and financially. This issue should be front-and-centre of the election campaign! Unpaid carers don't just play an integral part in Australia's aged care and health systems, they underpin them.”
Ms Holt believes it is vitally important to support the role of carers in our community. She said that it is clear that a regional, grassroots approach is needed, with politicians listening to people on the ground. “Talking to people who live this every day, there needs to be a recognition of carers and the role they play in the community. There needs to be a national summit on this issue where carers, not bureaucrats get to have their voices heard. There needs to be support for carers who all too often find themselves out-of-pocket for essential products and services for their loved ones, as well as gap fees and fees for respite.”
“Also, language matters - the term “carers” should be used only for carers, rather than paid disability and aged care support workers. Confusion between the two leads the community to believe that carers are being paid for their role like support workers, and they are not”.
Ms Holt believes all candidates should commit to supporting our carers through access to support and respite, strengthened carer recognition, and advocacy.If elected, Ms Holt will commit to making sure that carers, especially regional carers, are recognized for their service to the community and that this reflected in how they are supported by the government. “It is unacceptable that no progress or acknowledgement has occurred around this issue. A national summit would allow for light to be shone on this issue and for a start to a conversation nationally about what meaningful financial support carers should be receiving for the government.”
Independent Candidate for the Federal seat of Groom.
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