The Federal Government will lead the development of a National Carer Recognition Framework that will recognise, in legislation, the role played by carers.
Launching Carers Week in Canberra the Minister for Housing, Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin said that formal recognition of the role of carers was long overdue, and a national framework would improve the lives of Australia's 1.8 million carers.
“The Government is determined to give carers the recognition and acknowledgement they have asked for – and which they so clearly deserve,” she said.
Macklin said the framework would encourage community understanding and recognition – through national acknowledgement of the commitment and dedication of carers.
“And it will set down national goals – to give carers the opportunity to enjoy good health and wellbeing, and to fully participate in community life,” she said.
The announcement follows the release of a report highlighting the need for better welfare services for carers in rural and regional areas.
Carers Australia report The Tyranny of Distance: Carers in Regional and Remote Areas of Australia found that carers were more likely to experience money troubles, suffer low employment and have their own health difficulties.
They have higher rates of stressful life events, such as divorce, while those in rural areas struggle to access services such as healthcare.
The Federal Government’s framework will include a national carers' strategy – establishing principles and objectives to guide policy development and service delivery for carers, and will set out clearly how all levels of government will work together to enhance the policy.
The first step of the framework will be the introduction of Commonwealth carer recognition legislation in 2010.