Page 4632 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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and health risks that confront carers. To progress the objectives of the caring for carers policy, the government sought further input from the community and key stakeholders to develop an action plan to address these risks.

On 26 August 2004, the Caring for carers in the ACT—A plan for action 2004 to 2007 was released. This document outlines the actions that we have been taking over a three-year period and that we are taking over the three-year period to meet defined objectives. This action plan is structured around the principles outlined in the caring for carers policy and reflects the key messages arising from our extensive consultations with carers and the people receiving care. These messages included:

• the need for public recognition of the role and contribution made by unpaid, informal carers;

• assurance that the person being cared for is provided with quality, adequate and accessible support; and

• carers be regarded as partners with government.

To immediately support the policy and the action plan, the government committed, in its 2004-05 budget, $830,000 to be delivered over four years. This funding is being delivered through the carers recognition grants program, which supports the implementation of the caring for carers policy. To oversee the implementation of the action plan, we established the carers implementation partnership. The partnership comprises carers, people receiving care, as well as relevant community and government agencies.

What we are seeing is a significant level of improvement in the support provided to carers. The carer recognition grants are a key initiative. This year, they were focused on the provision of information and resources for carers. Carers had indicated to us that they required easy access to information to enable them to carry out their role safely and effectively. In the funding round, eight projects received grants ranging from the provision of information and resources and the establishment of support groups for carers to the employment of a mental health outreach support worker.

Specifically, Family Based Respite Care Inc, FABRIC, were provided $4,400 to develop a website to enhance communication and networking for FABRIC families, carers, support workers. Funding of $12,251 was also provided to the Gungahlin Regional Community Service for a mutual support group for carers based in Gungahlin. The Mental Health Foundation received $38,827 for a program that provides individually tailored support to carers of people with mental illness in their own homes.

The Marymead boy zone program, a mutual support group and mentoring program for young male carers aged 9 to 13 years, was granted $27,500. The Youth Coalition of the ACT received $22,000 to undertake research on the accessibility, appropriateness and responsiveness of respite and other supports for young carers.

Anglicare Youth and Family Services, CYCLOPS, received $35,000 for making education work for young carers, a project that supported young carers in their current learning environments to continue their education. Carers ACT received $44,000 for a carer information kit for service providers and professionals, a resource to assist service providers and professionals in the community, health and education settings to

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