A million reasons to support young carers

Joint Media Release with:

Minister for Social Services
The Hon Christian Porter MP

Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, and Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, Jane Prentice, today announced an additional $1 million to continue the Young Carer Bursary Program in 2018.

Under the program, which Carers Australia has been delivering since 2015, annual bursaries of $3,000 are awarded to young carers aged up to 25 to help them continue their education.

Minister Porter said the additional funding meant that about 333 bursaries could be awarded in 2018.

“Since we introduced the program in 2015 more than 980 bursaries have been awarded, through the Government’s $3.5 million investment to date before today’s announcement,” Mr Porter said.

“Evaluation of the program has shown that the bursaries have had a positive and significant impact on young carers – many recipients described the bursary as life-changing as it helps overcome the financial barriers to continuing their education. These barriers can be significant when young lives have been dramatically interrupted by the need to become a carer for a parent or loved one.

“I know of two young carers who having caring responsibilities of 30 to 40 hours a week, left little time for going to school and studying. The bursaries helped one young carer to complete a nursing degree and the other young carer to finish year eight.”

Mrs Prentice said the bursaries are life changing.

“Of the estimated 272,000 young carers in Australia, three out of five don’t go on to further studies after high school due to their caring responsibilities and this puts them at-risk of long-term disadvantage,” Mrs Prentice said.

“I’m pleased the Turnbull Government is able to continue this important and vital support for young carers through an additional $1 million for bursaries in 2018.

“The Bursaries help improve young carers’ education and reduce the pressure on them to work part-time to meet education costs.

“This is critical to allow young carers the resources they need to be able to focus on maintaining or furthering their education so that, ultimately, they can secure meaningful employment.”

Minister Porter also said that the $96.1 million Try, Test and Learn Fund would fund policies to help more young carers in the transition from carer to employment.

“Young carers, particularly the small number we have identified who can be expected to access welfare payments every year for the rest of their lives,” Minister Porter said.

“The care provided by young carers is invaluable, but as a community we must do all we can to ensure it is not a pathway to a life time of welfare dependence.

“I expect to make announcements soon about the first round of Try, Test and Learn Fund which will fund policy approaches with innovative approaches to breaking entrenched cycles of welfare dependency, including that of young carers.”