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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 7 Hansard (3 July) . . Page.. 2713..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

networking opportunities for carers. The Mental Health Foundation established carer support groups with their grant of $60,000. The Australian Catholic University received a grant for just over $59,000 for a research project that explored the nature of care responsibilities, support needs and services for children, young people and their families affected by alcohol and drug use. The outcomes from this research will inform policy and the way service providers respond to young carers in addressing their needs. In fact, the carer recognition grants over the past three years have delivered support, information on services, counselling, practical assistance and opportunities for carers to develop skills, articulate their needs, problem solve and plan for the future. Assistance has been provided to specific groups of carers, such as young carers and carers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, to negotiate barriers and support them to navigate service systems.

Community organisations that have received grants for projects have reported to us that they have provided opportunities to pilot new initiatives and test responses; for carers to meet other carers, exchange ideas and become better informed about other support services and information; for carers to participate in activities that reduce social isolation that many experience in their lives; for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social activities to encourage contact with the elders and social and cultural interaction; and for carers to feel a sense of control over their lives and express an ability to stay in their caring role in part of a support group and involved in social activities.

Other key actions from the progress report include support for young carers through Disability, Housing and Community Services funding of Anglicare's ACT program, connecting young carers to life opportunities and personalised support—also known as CYCLOPS. The program supports young carers through case management and provides education and development for the community sector concerning issues for young carers.

The lives of carers can be changed and enhanced through educational opportunities and a number of educational opportunities are available for carers. The CIT and ACT Health's joint service agreement provides opportunities for training under the technology skills for carers program that develops and delivers carer education, responding to carer training needs. The Department of Education and Training has an ongoing commitment to provide funding through the strategic priorities program and through community education grants to support a training program for carers.

The ACT government supports a number of community organisations and programs to support carers in the community. Key initiatives include: Disability ACT's funding to Carers ACT to provide 27 families of older parents caring for their children with disabilities respite; ACT Health, through the HACC program, funds Carers ACT to provide 14 culturally and linguistically diverse carer support groups. The ACT government is leading the way in supporting carers in the workplace under the 2007-10 collective agreement involving a number of measures negotiated with the objective of supporting carers. The measures recognise the demands of the caring role and provide a flexibility in the workplace so that carers can contribute in the workplace and meet their caring responsibilities.

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