In just one week of the year, we are given the opportunity to throw the spotlight on the significant contribution Australia’s unpaid carers make to the nation year round. National Carers Week gives us that opportunity to highlight and celebrate the 2.7 million unpaid carers who provide care which has been valued at $60.3 billion annually.
This year National Carers Week began with the official launch, held in Newcastle on the morning of Saturday 15 October and featuring our National Carers Week Ambassadors, former NRL player, Alex McKinnon and his fiancée/carer, Teigan Power. Other attendees included former ACT carer and singer, Amber Nichols; Member for Newcastle and co-convenor of the Parliamentary Friends of Carers, Sharon Claydon; and Deputy Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Jason Dunn. An interview with Alex and Teigan was broadcast live from the launch on Channel Nine’s Today Show at around 8.30am, ensuring national coverage.
This year the official television commercial was viewed by thousands and we received a lot of positive feedback illustrating how the commercial had been regularly broadcast in every state and territory, often during prime time. Our visual media also generated record results on our YouTube channel, with one promotional video being viewed nearly 30,000 times.
Our national radio coverage was extensive and featured National Carers Week Ambassadors, Alex and Teigan, and a number of other carers speaking about the importance of recognition and support.
Woman’s Day produced a carer feature over two issues, the week before and during National Carers Week. The first included an exclusive with Alex and Teigan, and the second featured a story on Mary Pilkington, a member of our Australian National Young Carer Action Team.
Carers Australia and its corporate partner, Sigma, worked together on two National Carers Week projects this year. The first was a young carers survey focusing on wellbeing, and the second was a young carer video, which was posted on the Amcal Facebook page. For every ‘Share’ of the video, Amcal pledged to donate $1 to Carers Australia, with a target of 40,000 ‘Shares’.
Carers Australia held two other major events during the Week. We partnered with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on the Tuesday to release the 2015 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers(SDAC) at a press conference at Parliament House. Our CEO Ara Cresswell, COTA’s CEO, Ian Yates, and ABS executive, Justine Boland, spoke to the media in attendance, with all TV stations represented.
On Thursday, a morning tea was hosted by Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, Jane Prentice, and Carers Australia at Parliament House. Twenty-six Members and Senators attended the event and spoke to local carers and Carers Australia staff. Ms Prentice thanked Carers Australia, saying it “was a great success and gave Members and Senators the opportunity to celebrate the important contribution carers make to our community. I look forward to another successful National Carers Week in 2017”.
Ara Cresswell, also spoke at the Pfizer National Carers Week event. Both the HR Director and Country Manager from Pfizer spoke of their own caring roles, one as a current carer and one as a past carer.
All of the above activity, plus the many hundreds of events staged across the country by the state and territory Carers Associations helped us to further raise awareness of Australia’s 2.7 million carers.