The Treasurer’s announcement last night of an additional $84.3 million to support family and friend carers will help ease the major transition underway in the nationally-funded carer support sector to a new delivery model for the Integrated Carer Support Service (ICSS).

It is estimated that Australia’s family and friend carers contribute $60.3 billion to the economy annually in unpaid care. They often do so to the detriment of their own financial security and employment and education opportunities.

One of the supports offered to carers under the new model is access to a capped number of financial support packages of up to $3,000 which will provide carers some assistance with the costs of seeking employment, participating in education, the costs of taking a short break from daily caring and transport costs.

Last night’s Budget announcement identified that up to 5,000 packages a year will be made available and that up to 25 per cent of these will be reserved to support young carers under the age of 25.

We have been concerned that the funding allocated to the ICSS model is insufficient to meet the demand for services. It is encouraging that this new funding has been made available in addition to the funding levels previously announced.

Other measures announced in the Federal Budget will also impact on carers and Carers Australia will be releasing our “What the Budget Means for Carers” document in the coming days, with a comprehensive breakdown of this year’s Budget and its effect on carers.