Tasmania’s Peak Body for informal, unpaid family and friend carers welcomes the Federal Government’s budget announcement to inject $84.3M specifically for young carers over the next four years.

In Tasmania, it is estimated that there are 7,600 people under 25 years caring for a family member or friend. Of these, Carers Tasmania estimate that between 1,500 and 2,000 are attending school or one student carer in every classroom across the state.

“This group of carers is particularly vulnerable,” said Carers Tasmania’s chief executive, David Brennan.

“Carers Tasmania has supported young carers as young as five and eight years old and clearly these children are not developmentally ready to be carers yet do so as an act of love.”

“The impact on them is significant. By Year 9, NAPLAN results show that student carers are 18 months behind on literacy and 15 months with numeracy stemming from caring as little as two hours per week,” said Mr Brennan.

“The recognition by the Federal Government to specifically support young carers is therefore very welcomed.”

The allocation of $84.3M over four-years will start with $18.2M in 2019/20 rising to $21.7M in 2022/23. The funding will be used to fund financial support packages to aid participation in education or the workplace, and to fund dedicated carer support workers in the Federal Government’s new Carer Gateway arrangements.

“Many young carers don’t complete school and lack the job-skills to be work ready. Funding that can be flexibly used to maintain school, TAFE, university or a job is very welcome,” said Mr Brennan.

“Our experience suggests that if young carers can access additional tutoring, the ability to purchase much needed education tools like laptops or supports that lessen the impact of their caring role on achieving education or employment outcomes, their overall life choices are improved.”

Mr Brennan said that “dedicated young carer staff will enable greater interaction with schools and build the capacity of the education system to routinely identify and support young carers, which is not currently occurring.”

About Carers Tasmania

Carers Tasmania is a non-profit body supporting informal carers across the state. They were appointed the stat’s Peak Body for carers in July 2018, recognising their central role as the lead agency for family and friend carers.

Carers Tasmania has offices in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie.

About carers

An informal, unpaid carer is often a family member that cares for someone suffering chronic or terminal illness, has a mental health illness, is frail aged, has a disability or alcohol or other drug issue.

Informal carers are distinct from paid support workers who are also colloquially also called carers, but are fully employed and remunerated with all the benefits of employment. Conversely, family carers perform their caring duties without remuneration.