Published on 12 November 2020

MEDIA RELEASE: Extra Funding Offers Support For Unpaid Carers To Pursue Education And Employment

Carers Victoria welcomes the announcement from the Andrews Labor Government who will invest $4.6 million to support unpaid carers to pursue education and employment opportunities.

The announcement is part of the government’s investment of $235 million to build a recovery workforce, creating 500 new jobs across mental health, family violence, health and child protection.

Recognising the incredible skill, ability and knowledge of carers, the government will provide pathways into employment in the community services, disability and aged care sector. This includes relief for carers to get assistance with their caring responsibilities while they study and during their placements, helping with the cost of study materials, mentoring and additional supervision and support.

“By recruiting more child protection workers, and also helping our unpaid carers build on their experience and access work, we’re creating a stronger, more diverse workforce to support the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Minister for Child Protection and Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan.

Carers Victoria Interim CEO, Sue Peden says “Unpaid carers have developed valuable skills and experience in their caring role which can be transferred to professional carer roles. This investment will enable more Victorian carers to upskill and successfully return to work or develop the skills needed for their first job, supporting Victoria’s business community to thrive and retain skilled staff, and to support members of their team who have caring roles.”

Many carers experience difficulties finding work once their caring role has ceased as employers do not take unpaid carers’ skills and experiences into account. Because of this, carers often experience significant personal and financial costs, with one in five carers giving up work to care for someone and young carers dropping out of school at a higher rate than their peers.

Unpaid carers provide a $19 billion benefit to the Victorian economy every year, with one in nine Victorians in a caring role. Employer support for carers to continue participating in the workforce has been fragmented and unpaid carers are still at a disadvantage in the Australian labour market. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics the workforce participation rate in 2018 was 58.8 per cent for primary carers and 76.6 per cent for other carers aged 15 to 64. The participation rate for non-carers was 81.5 per cent.

“By supporting carers to continue participating in education and work, particularly through creating carer-friendly schools and workplaces, carers will experience less financial stress which will ultimately lead to better health and wellbeing outcomes for carers,” said Sue Peden.

Carers Victoria also welcomes other initiatives which could benefit carers, including:

  • Victorians on a waiting list to access residential AOD services or who disengaged from treatment during the pandemic will receive more support with $25.62 million to employ new specialist alcohol and other drug workers;
  • An increase in the number of available mental health nurse graduate positions across Victoria with $4.3 million in funding so we have more workers on the ground caring for Victorians; and
  • Additional positions for child and youth psychiatry registrars, and funding for new part-time positions and cadetships for people with a lived experience of mental health.

Click here to read Carers Victoria’s ‘Delivering for Victorian Carers - Education and Jobs Package’ State Budget Submission 2020-2021.

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Julia Mazur, Carers Victoria

About Carers Victoria

Carers Victoria is the peak body representing all unpaid carers in Victoria. They provide services and advice for carers in the Western Metropolitan Region, as well as education workshops, programs and events across the state. As a social purpose peak body, Carers Victoria’s aim is to ensure caring is the joint responsibility of community, government and family. For over 25 years Carers Victoria has been supporting and empowering unpaid carers in Victoria.

About Carers

A carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to family members and friends with a disability, mental illness, chronic health issue or age-related condition. Unpaid carers are distinct from paid support workers who are 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.