Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (29 October) . . Page.. 2524 ..
MR WOOD (continuing):
How does caring affect these young people? There are the positives - strong family bonds, enhanced sensitivity and empathy for others, and pride in their maturity. There are also the negatives - economic difficulties, the restrictions on their normal activities, the educational difficulties and the health and emotional problems. There are also the long-term worries about the future: "What will happen to my family when I get older and want to leave? Will I ever be able to leave?".
The Carers Association of the ACT, along with Marymead and St Vincent de Paul, has formed a support network for these children. They will be offered holiday camps, outings, advice and counselling. By meeting other children in similar situations and having a chance to talk, they can gain support by sharing their problems and realising that they are not the only children with these responsibilities.
Among the points I heard during this morning's forum were that young carers are identified as those under 18 caring for the aged, sick or disabled. Many provide a high level of care. Their own education or development may be affected. They lack training while carrying out work that adults are often trained for. Teachers and peers often misunderstand them, especially as they are reluctant to discuss their circumstances, and many do not have the type of childhood we expect children to have.
Mr Speaker, the invitation to the forum stated that its purpose was to raise awareness of the needs of children who are carers and to make a commitment to assisting them. In this Assembly, we must pay particular attention to that. The importance was emphasised by one speaker who said, "A young carer is a child in need".
MR RUGENDYKE (6.40): Very briefly, Mr Speaker, I want to echo the words of Mr Humphries in relation to Sergeant Gary Brodie. I have had a long and exciting association with Gary Brodie over the years. He is one of life's gentlemen. There is something about people who specialise in bomb work. You do notice a rather psychotic glint in the eye and a twist of the mind that not even Sigmund Freud would find easy to diagnose properly. Having said that, I do have a great admiration for Sergeant Brodie, and I do wish him well in the future in his retirement.
MR OSBORNE (6.41): Mr Speaker, I want to speak briefly on a personal matter. I am very pleased to announce that my son has a name. He was born 31 days ago but we have had a bit of trouble. When you have the first boy it is not too hard. For the second boy it is a little bit easier. By the time you get to the third and fourth you are starting to run out of names that you both agree on. He has been Thomas for a week now so I am taking that to mean that he will stay Thomas. I have not spoken to my wife this afternoon, but I am keeping my fingers crossed, Mr Speaker, that he stays Thomas.