Page 3972 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 20 September 2017

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MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I thank Ms Cody for her question and her interest in this very important matter. The government recognises the valuable contribution made by tens of thousands of Canberrans who provide unpaid care to family members, friends and neighbours. The development of the ACT carers strategy will improve support for carers and acknowledge the difference they make in people’s lives and the wider community. Development of the strategy is progressing well and has already engaged many members of the Canberra community.

In the 2017-18 budget, the ACT government committed to providing $200,000 over three years in administrative and financial support to develop and implement the ACT carers strategy. This was in addition to the $50,000 committed in 2016-17 to engage Carers ACT and democracyCo in the development and delivery of the consultation process. Through this process, the ACT government is fulfilling its election commitment to develop a carers strategy, as well as its commitment to strengthen community consultation processes so that diverse views are heard and taken into account.

On 30 August 2017 I announced details of a deliberative democracy process to develop the ACT carers strategy. With Carers ACT, I called for participants from the Canberra community, including both carers and non-carers, to join the carers voice panel that will develop the strategy. The ACT government has committed in principle to accepting the vision, outcomes and priorities developed through this deliberative process.

The expression of interest process for the carers voice panel has now closed, with responses received from many Canberrans interested in participating. Invitations to participate were sent out to 64 Canberrans last week and two days of deliberations will take place in mid-October.

MS CODY: Minister, how can Canberrans be involved in this process?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: The carers voice panel participants are from both carer and non-carer backgrounds, as I mentioned, and are representative of our broader community and the many different types of carers that make such a valuable contribution to the lives of people in the ACT.

Participants in the carers voice panel will explore what better needs to be done to recognise and support carers in the important role they play in our community. In particular, participants will be asked to deliberate on what would make Canberra a carer-friendly city, what outcomes the community wants to see for carers and what the community’s shared priorities should be.

In addition to the carers voice panel, Canberrans have had, and will have, a range of opportunities to be involved in the process to develop the ACT carers strategy. Members of the community can contribute through surveys or focus groups. Participants are asked to consider what actions they would like to see taken to support carers, what is working, and what they would like the panel formulating the strategy to know.

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