Carers play a significant role in our community. However, many of us are not aware of the enormous contribution carers make, or fully appreciate the challenges they face every day.
A person can become a carer at any point in their life journey – as a child, a young person, an adult or a retiree. It might be your family, and it might be your neighbour.
Carers provide support to their loved ones because of disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol issues, dementia, or health conditions - from chronic illness, frailty in ageing, to palliative care.
The unique journey of carers means that many do not see themselves as ‘carers’ – they do what they do because it is a natural part, or extension of, their relationship with the person they care for.
Carers report that caring for their loved ones can be rewarding and satisfying. However, there is a personal cost in assuming a caring role. Carers face more challenges, compared to the general population, in regard to health and wellbeing, income, employment and social interactions.
The COVID-19 pandemic presented significant and unprecedented challenges to the Tasmanian community, and the Tasmanian Government thanks our carers who were at the forefront, and who stepped up to ensure that people in their care were protected and supported.
We acknowledge carers resilience and strength during such challenging times, and for providing comfort to those who needed support.
It is now time to look forward, to secure Tasmania’s future, and I am pleased to release our Supporting Tasmanian Carers: Tasmanian Carer Action Plan 2021-2024 (Supporting Tasmanian Carers). Our Plan builds on the success of our previous Action Plan 2017-2020, with three key action areas to support Tasmanian carers: Recognition, Access and Participation, and Learning.
While there has been good progress in recognition of the vital role of carers in Tasmania, at the forefront of this new Action Plan is the introduction of Carer Recognition legislation, which will formally acknowledge the thousands of carers in our community, and promote and value the importance of care relationships. This is our centrepiece action.
Our Action Plan also includes establishing a Carers Week community grants program, which will fund organisations to deliver events to celebrate National Carers Week and increase awareness of services available to carers.
Supporting Tasmanian Carers strengthens the Tasmanian Government’s commitment to continue to work closely with Carers Tasmania, Mental Health Families and Friends Tasmania, and other key stakeholders to ensure carers have access to the services and support they need and also have opportunities to maximise their participation in all areas of life.
I thank our stakeholders and advocates for their contribution to Supporting Tasmanian Carers: Tasmanian Carer Action Plan 2021-2024 (Supporting Tasmanian Carers), which will help shape the future direction for carers in Tasmania.
Most importantly, I thank all carers for their dedication to ensuring more Tasmanians have the opportunity to connect with, be part of, and contribute to, their community. Together we will create a community and culture which encourages and supports participation of carers in all areas of Tasmanian life.
The Hon Jeremy Rockliff MP
Minister for Community Services and Development