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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 2 December 2021) . . Page.. 4117 ..

needs and is done in collaboration with families and other support staff as well as the students and teachers. This model of co-design could have been adopted here as part of the legislation, making sure that all parties in the caring relationships are heard and their voices are listened to.

How good would it have been if this bill, rather than simply encouraging support agencies to seek advice, had included options requiring acknowledgement of carers on health plans, including their role and support needs. It should have recognised the fundamental nature of that care relationship for both carer and the person cared for. How good would it have been if this bill had enshrined into legislation a legal recognition of carers for purposes of accessing carers leave, especially for those not directly related to the person they are caring for. How good would it have been if it had legally required recognition, properly defined and prescribed support carers, rather than including them as matters of principle.

I do believe that this bill focuses too much on institutional carers and it fails to fully define and thus recognise all caring relationships, particularly family members and volunteers. As I said, the bill appears to be primarily aspirational, with some onerous additional compliance and reporting placed on support agencies. But it falls short of providing any support or funding for support agencies to meet the obligations of this bill. It is incumbent on the government that clear guidance should be provided to care and care support agencies on the definitions and implementations once the bill is enacted.

I want to end by thanking the many people who act as carers in the ACT for the wonderful work that they do, and I want to acknowledge the significant contribution that they make to our community.

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (5.00): I rise to support the Carers Recognition Bill 2021. By supporting this legislation, the government resolves to formally recognise the critical importance of carers to our community. This delivers on an ACT Labor election commitment to formally recognise in legislation the essential role carers play in our community.

I would like to thank Ms Orr for bringing this important bill before the Assembly, and I acknowledge her commitment throughout her time in this place to promoting the rights of carers and advocating for greater support and recognition. I acknowledge the strong engagement between Ms Orr and the carer community, which has led to and informed the development of this bill.

Carers ACT’s submission to the Standing Committee on Health and Wellbeing inquiry into the bill recommended that it should be passed with their strong endorsement, and I am sure it will be. As their submission states:

The introduction of a carer recognition bill in the ACT Legislative Assembly in June 2021 was the culmination of a journey we started in 1991 and we cemented in 2018.

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