Minority Report - Australian Greens and Australian Democrats
Schedule 6 Carer Allowance Backdating
I am very concerned
about this amendment, which will substantially reduce the maximum backdating
period for carers of both children and adults (being from 52 weeks for children
and 26 weeks for adults) down to 12 weeks. The Australian Greens believe this
is unfair, uncaring and unreasonable.
stated reason for this is that:
"The measure will standardise the backdating period available
"The measure will rationalise ..."
The department also
estimates that this will save $107.6 million over four years.
A recent report by
Access Economics concluded that carers annually contribute $30.5 billion of
care to the community.
They are often the
most vulnerable and lowly paid in our community, either leaving work altogether
or working reduced hours to enable them to carry out their carer
The back pay they
receive is used to pay for things such as supporting the person being cared
for, costs of diagnosis, transport, pharmaceuticals, nappies and necessary
modifications to their homes.
The Government is
proposing to standardise and rationalise payments at the expense of carers who
provide so much selfless support and care for our communities most vulnerable
have condemned this amendment and believe it should be withdrawn.
was provided to the Committee outlining the reasons why carers do not always
immediately apply for carers allowance. These included:
- not immediately identifying as a carer,
- focussed on dealing with the crisis,
- coming to terms with the changed
- lack of information of the allowance,
- overwhelming demands on ongoing care,
- delays with diagnoses,
- attempting to 'go it alone' until a
financial crisis is reached.
As pointed out in
the Carers Australia submission these proposed changes will:
disadvantage and marginalise carers. The 2003 ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing
and Carers indicates that carers are over-represented in the lower household
income quintiles. These carers are identified as being at particular risk of
low wellbeing in the Australian Wellbeing Index Survey 2005".
this amendment is withdrawn and that the current backdating provisions stand.
to Carer Allowance should be streamlined, particularly for those under
effort is made to ensure that carers are aware of financial assistance and
resources that are available to assist them.
Schedule 5 – Reducing allocation of child
While not opposing
this particular amendment – there were issues raised during the committee
hearing that Australian Greens believe need to be followed up.
We are concerned
that FACS does not have an assessment of the needs of regional communities for
child care places, nor do they have a robust method for acquiring that
There is no real
demand assessment process for identifying demand in regional or outer
There is a need to
focus more effort on understanding child care needs in regional areas.
FACS develop an assessment process to allow
them to model the future needs of regional communities for child care places.
FACS institute a forward planning process
designed to address the identified future needs.
Senator Rachel Siewert
Australian Greens, Western Australia
Senator Andrew Bartlett
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