Ageing Fact Sheet 2 - Recognising Senior Australians: Their Needs and Their Carers

The Budget builds on the fivefold increase in funding for respite care since 1996, by investing a further $207.6 million to give carers better choice of and access to respite care that meets their needs.

Page last updated: 10 May 2005

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10 May 2005

Recognising Senior Australians: Their Needs and Their Carers

An estimated 475,000 Australians are a primary carer, helping older Australians or younger people with disabilities to remain living at home and in their community. Caring is a challenging and demanding yet rewarding role, and the Australian Government recognises that carers also need care, and they need to take a break from their caring role.

Respite care provides that break, and helps carers to manage other aspects of their life, enabling them to continue in their caring role.

Since 1996 the Australian Government has delivered a fivefold increase in funding to the National Respite for Carers Program, and will provide more than $100 million this year in support for carers. The Australian Government will build on this by investing a further
$207.6 million over four years to give carers better choice and access to the respite care that best meets their needs.

Over four years, this initiative will provide a total of up to 1.3 million days of respite care to an estimated 50,000 carers, building on the already substantial growth in Australian Government funded respite services.

Respite care to assist employed carers

Carers in paid employment and carers re-entering the workforce will benefit from an increase in the number of respite services available through funding of $95.5 million over four years. This will include increasing the funding to Commonwealth Carer Respite Centres, enabling day respite centres for older Australians to extend their hours of operation. This will enable up to 5,000 employed carers each to access an average of 480 extra hours of respite in a full working year.
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Residential respite funding boost

Funding for residential respite will be boosted by $41.8 million over four years. This will provide funding for an extra one million high care respite days in aged care homes to enable an estimated 47,000 carers over four years to take a break from their demanding carer role, with the peace of mind that comes with knowing their loved one is receiving high quality care.

Overnight respite in community respite houses

The Australian Government will increase overnight respite in community respite houses by providing $61.0 million over four years for Commonwealth Carer Respite Centres to purchase more than 55,000 nights of care in the community for 2,000 carers each year, particularly in areas where such options may be limited.

The funding will also support the development of specific standards and reporting requirements for community respite houses to ensure older people in community respite are receiving the quality care they need.

Increasing rural and regional respite services

Rural and regional respite services’ capacity will be increased to provide access to flexible respite services tailored to meet demand specific to rural and remote areas through $9.3 million over four years to Multi Purpose Services. This will provide more than 122,000 days of respite care through Multipurpose Services.

Carer Information and Support Program

The Australian Government will provide continued funding of $10.2 million over four years for the Carer Information and Support Program. The program provides carers with up-to-date information about matters of concern to them, including through an information kit.