Kevin Minson

Kevin Minson


    Taskforce to focus on carers' needs in regional communities

    27/10/1996 12:00 AM



    Disability Services Minister Kevin Minson said a taskforce examining ways of supporting carers of people with disabilities was to focus on the special needs of regional communities.


    Speaking at the end of Carers Week, Mr Minson called for greater community support and recognition for people caring for relatives and friends with a disability.


    He said it would cost the community more than $1 billion to pay for the same level of services currently provided by unpaid carers.


    "It has been estimated that there are more than 300,000 Western Australians with disabilities and around three-quarters of the help they need is provided by family, friends or neighbours," the Minister said.


    "These people do a remarkable job that often goes unrecognised and as a community, we need to do a great deal more to provide them with the assistance they require.


    "It is of particular concern to me that while there are some support services in the metropolitan area and larger regional centres, many people in the smaller, more remote communities could be missing out on the assistance they need.


    "This taskforce, which has carer representatives from regional areas, will be paying particular attention to the needs of carers and people with disabilities outside the metropolitan area."


    Mr Minson said part of the Disability Services Commission s five-year business plan, Count Us In, provided funding for the taskforce to develop a `Caring for Carers' strategy.


    "Currently, there are 127,000 people identified as primary carers of people with disabilities - that is eight per cent of the State s population - and it is time they received the recognition they deserve and the help they need," he said.


    The taskforce, chaired by Dr Warren Louden, former Director General of Education and father of a daughter with a disability, will identify the areas of greatest need through community consultations.


    It will also look at options to ensure the necessary supports are available to meet carers physical and emotional needs.


    "The taskforce is meeting next week to begin its deliberations and we are hopeful community consultations will be under way early in the New Year," Mr Minson said.


    "The Caring for Carers strategy will provide a much needed boost to the many people who give so much and ask so little in return."


    Media contact : Caroline Lacy 222 9211