Data from the latest (2015) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows the weekly median income of primary carers is 42% lower than non-carers.

The total number of primary carers (those who provided the majority of assistance with core activities of daily living) has also increased to 855,000 – a rise of 11%; and just 56% of primary carers between the ages of 15 and 64 participate in the workforce compared to 80% of non-carers.

Carers Australia CEO, Ara Cresswell said “Deloitte’s Access Economics estimated that in 2015 the replacement value of unpaid care was equivalent to $60.3 billion dollars, or over $1billion per week on average”.

“However, as the SDAC survey demonstrates, the provision of this care can come at a high financial cost to carers and can have a significant impact on their well-being.

“Primary carers, those who provide the most substantial amount of care, tend to have significantly decreased income, lower rates of workforce participation and are more likely to have a disability or chronic illness themselves when compared to the general population.”

Positive findings from the latest SDAC include a 7 percent decrease in the number of unpaid carers caring for more than 40 hours per week, and a decrease in the number of carers under the age of 15.

“We welcome these positive findings, but the Survey generally makes clear that unpaid carers still require support and acknowledgement from community and government, so that they can live fulfilling lives beyond the carer role.

“It further underlines how a great number of people around Australia are taking on enormous responsibility to the nation’s benefit, but which puts them at a disadvantage.”