Page 4631 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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agreement will, therefore, help to ensure that the ACT’s indigenous people have a standard of housing and related services that provides a safe, affordable environment that contributes to improved health outcomes and quality of life.

Caring for carers

Papers and statement by minister

MR HARGREAVES (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Police and Emergency Services): For the information of members, I present the following papers:

Carers legislation in the ACT—Review—

Report, dated November 2005.

Government response, dated November 2005.

Caring for carers in the ACT—A plan for action 2004-2007—First progress report.

I ask for leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MR HARGREAVES: I thank members for that. I am pleased to table today the first progress report on Caring for carers in the ACT—a plan for action 2004-2007, which was presented to the Assembly on 26 August 2004, and the government response to the report on the review of carers legislation in the ACT. This government came to office committed to better supporting the thousands of carers in our community and to implement policies and action plan programs to assist them. We are also concerned to raise the profile of carers so that their contribution to our community is better acknowledged.

The government knew that, to achieve this goal, we needed to consult widely and develop strong partnerships with carers and people who receive care, as well as service providers. This strategic approach has ensured that the government is aware of, and can better respond to, the unmet and changing needs of carers and people who receive care. It is essential that we acknowledge and support carers, not least because they make up some 14 per cent of the population and provide a service that the government alone could never address.

The majority of the estimated 43,000 carers in the ACT are female. We have a growing number of young carers. In this regard, it is estimated that some 7,600 carers are under the age of 25. By way of a mind picture, when we talk about 7,600 carers under the age of 25, there are 5,700 houses in the suburb of Kambah—the biggest suburb in town. We are talking about more young carers under 25 than all the houses in the whole of Kambah. That is huge.

In recognition of the unique needs of carers for support, the government developed the caring for carers policy, tabled in the Assembly in 2003. The policy aims are simple: to provide a basis for improving supports for carers that enhance their health and wellbeing and that of the people they care for. Above all, the policy recognises the social, economic

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