Parliament: Questions Kelly's Asked

Disability Carers

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for the Status of Women a question about female carers of people with disabilities in South Australia.

Leave granted.

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: One in five people in South Australia cares for a person with a disability and, furthermore, I understand that roughly 40 per cent of carers have some sort of disability themselves. I speak specifically of family carers, whose caring duties go unpaid and are performed only from necessity and, I would hope, compassion and love. Many family carers have essentially given up a previous life to care for the person they love, often because the lack of adequate government support means that there is no other option. Although I acknowledge and congratulate male family carers of people with disabilities, it is stated on the ABS website that 71 per cent of carers are, in fact, women.

I note that we have a Carer’s Recognition Act and there are awards such as that entitled Women Hold Up Half the Sky to recognise women but it is the view of some carers that these are not really practical ways to acknowledge their mental, emotional and physical needs when undertaking their caring duties. Therefore, I ask the minister: what practical measures is the government currently taking to acknowledge female family carers in order to promote their physical and mental wellbeing? Given that our population is both growing and ageing, what measures will be taken to ensure adequate support for our state’s carers in the future?