Carers Victoria, the peak body representing all unpaid carers in Victoria and championing all carers across the state’s communities, says The Victorian 2023-24 State Budget has delivered mixed outcomes for Victoria’s carers.
The continuation of funding for additional respite for the next four years will allow approximately 5,000 Victorian carers and allow for 100,000 additional hours of support by supplementing the Support for Carers program. Carers who are not working are eligible for a Health Card and can use this to access public transport at a reduced cost.
“Carers Victoria is extremely pleased to see that the Andrews Government has recognised the critical importance of sustaining investment in additional respite,” said Ms Judith Abbott, CEO, Carers Victoria, noting that, “When we speak with carers, access to respite is always one of the highest priorities for them.”
The government has also funded its election commitment to provide additional supports for students with disabilities, with the introduction of funded NDIS Navigators into government specialist schools and funding for Outside School Hours Care across 30 specialists schools, alongside a range of other improvements and support. The State Government’s recognition of unpaid carers of children with disabilities is positive.
However, Carers Victoria was disappointed to see that access to public transport concessions for Carers Card holders would not be continuing.
Ms Abbott commented, “There are currently around 25,000 Victorians who have a Carers Card. While we welcome the broader changes to public transport costs for rural and regional Victorians, which will make public transport more affordable for all people living outside Melbourne, the decision to discontinue the provision of transport concessions will be a further financial blow to many Victorian carers who already experience significant financial disadvantage.”
“With the number of carers expected to grow to more than one million carers in Victoria by 2025, the prospect of a new Victorian Carers Strategy being released would provide a significant opportunity to address current gaps and make changes that would have a real impact for Victoria’s carers. Carers Victoria welcomes the opportunity to work with the Victorian Government to improve the lives of all unpaid carers within our state.”
Ms Abbott reiterated Carers Victoria’s commitment to carers across the state. “We will keep working hard to achieve a different future for Victoria’s carers where they are heard, they are respected, and where they can more easily access support when they need it” she said.