All Western Australians are encouraged to recognise the contribution of those who have taken on the challenging role of caring for a family member or loved one during Carers’ Week.
Communities Minister Sue Ellery said the annual Carers Week, being held from October 13 to 20, promoted and raised awareness of the valuable role that carers played in the community and generated discussion about carer issues.
“It should be acknowledged that many carers don’t anticipate their caring role and it is an extremely tough job that they take on with little or no experience or knowledge. This could happen to anyone, at any time,” Ms Ellery said.
Carers are defined as people who provide ongoing care or assistance, without payment, to another person with a disability, chronic or mental illnesses, or to someone who is frail.
“Carers are ordinary Western Australians who have found themselves in a situation that they probably wouldn’t have chosen. They have to deal with lots of challenges and often feel very alone,” the Minister said.
“These people provide care, not for money, but because of love, commitment and a sense of duty. Without their contribution, the quality of life enjoyed by so many would severely diminish.
“For carers to be able to continue to provide care, they need to be supported and involved in the decisions that affect them and their lives.”
Ms Ellery said the Carpenter Government applauded the estimated 248,000 Western Australians who continued to provide $3billion in unpaid services and made a huge contribution to the community by supporting the health and disability sectors.
WA was the first State in Australia to introduce laws recognising carers, with the Carers Recognition Act 2004 coming into effect in January 2005.
The new Department for Communities incorporated the Office for Seniors Interests and Carers. The inclusion of carers in this office acknowledged the role of carers in communities throughout the State.
The Minister welcomed Federal Labor’s commitment earlier this week to create an Office of Work and Family within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
“This new Federal Office will have a duty to ensure issues affecting carers become an essential part of Government policy, and it would also produce an annual State of the Family Report,” she said.
“We need a Federal Government that keeps the balance right between work and family life for all Australians, especially when we consider the growing number of parents who are trying to juggle the responsibilities of caring for their own children, with also caring for their aged and frail relatives.”
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