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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4350..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Minister for Arts and Heritage): I present the following paper:

Caring for carers in the ACT-A plan for action 2004-2007.

I seek leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MR WOOD: In December 2003 the government tabled a caring for carers policy, a whole-of-government commitment to recognising carers and supporting their needs. At this time, the government committed to developing a strategy to implement the policy. The government also committed, in the Canberra social plan, to ensuring both "the adoption of principles and objectives set out in the Caring for Carers Policy". The plan of action has been developed to deliver this commitment. The plan was developed as an whole-of-government project, managed by the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services over the past four months. Carers, people who receive care, service providers and ACT and Commonwealth government agencies have had extensive input through a carers implementation partnership and broad community consultation.

Already this government has progressed a number of important initiatives to improve the recognition and support of carers. We have substantially increased access to flexible respite services, improved culturally appropriate information and support for carers, increased access to support and accommodation for people who require care and enhanced carer participation in policy and planning.

This plan builds on this important work and contains 34 new commitments. It will enable the government to increase access to information, training and social supports to assist carers; improve the accessibility and quality of respite, accommodation and supports for people in care relationships; work with professionals to improve identification, support and referral of carers through appropriate supports; work with employers and educators to help carers access and maintain work and study; improve the recognition and support of carers in the community; and improve the responsiveness of ACT government policy, programs and services.

Some of our new commitments will be pursued through new funding of $830,000 over the next four years. New funding is being made available in the form of grants to community organisations through the Carer Recognition Grants Program. It is expected that the successful applicants will be announced early next month. Other commitments will be managed through existing agency resources. All relevant ACT government agencies have demonstrated their active support of carers by committing to undertake some of the new commitments within their existing agency resources.

This plan is comprehensive, practical and supported across government. It meets an important commitment under the Canberra social plan. The action plan provides a solid basis on which the government can improve their recognition of and supports for carers.

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