NATIONAL CARERS WEEK

I thank the member for Canterbury, and shadow Minister for Disability Services, for bringing this matter of public importance to the Chamber. I know only too well that the member for Canterbury deals with carers on a daily basis and knows precisely how important their contribution is to our community. She therefore knows what support we as parliamentarians must give to them. Millions of Australians dedicate their days to caring for someone who, for whatever reason, has a limited capacity to care for themselves.I am pleased that Carers Week gives us an opportunity to recognise those people and thank them for their dedication and selflessness.

We know that the dollar value of unpaid care wo rk is currently an amazing $1.1  billion per week. We also know that th is unpaid care work is overwhelmingly done by women and that they sacrifice a great deal in order to care for their loved ones. This year's theme for Carer s Week is " Carers Count " . It reminds us of not just the sheer number of people who undertake unpaid c aring work throughout their lifetime but also the enormous contribution they make to the lives of the people for whom they care and to our community more broadly. Of course, it would be remiss of me to ignore the needs of carers themselves. At the end of t he day, we need to make sure that carers are getting the support and assistance they need to help them look after others. Carers Week not only acknowledges the work that carers do but also encourages carers to access the support systems that are currently available in our community.

It is easy for a person to become socially isolated when they care for someone else. Accessing support networks can often be daunting, difficult and disjointed. This week is an opportunity to find out what is out there and how t o tap into those services to help carers continue to support others. It is also a good opportunity for those with the capacity to help carers to reflect on the services that are available and ensure they are meeting the needs of the people who need it most . Finally, I give a special thanks to carers in my community. I t hank them for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make. I thank them for their advocacy to ensure that their loved one continues to receive the best possible services and for all th ey do in our community.

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