Federal Election 2019: Major party promises not enough for grandcarers

Stock image.
Stock image.

PROMISES from Federal Liberal and Labor to support grandparent carers might help but don’t go far enough, says Wanslea research and evaluation manager Katrina Stratton.

The Scarborough-based organisation’s call for action ahead of the Federal Election asked for current processes to be made simpler, more equitable and more accessible.

“In many instances the payments are only available to formal kinship carers, whereas all grandparent carers, whether they are connected to child protection services or not, should have access to these payments to sustain them in their caring role,” Dr Stratton said.

Labor candidate for Pearce Kim Travers, who knows first-hand the vital role grandparent carers play in the community, said a Federal Labor Government would employ another 1200 Centrelink staff.

“My two siblings and I were raised by our paternal grandparents from the time I was six years old in Merredin,” she said.

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“I have never taken for granted the sacrifice my grandparents made to care for us when they should have had time to themselves after raising their own children.

“Grandparent carers do an incredibly important job holding our families and communities together, and they aren’t paid for it.”

Ms Travers said Labor would improve the way the Government worked with the states to identify grandparent carers and ensure they were getting as much support as possible.

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Pearce MHR Christian Porter said the Federal Government had a range of services available to grandcarers, including the Grandparent Advisor Program that helped grandparent carers access government payments and services, as well as support organisations.

“Grandparents may be eligible for a range of Australian Government financial support such as the family tax benefit, which is accessed by around 20,000 grandparents Australia- wide,” Mr Porter said.

“They may be eligible for the child care benefit or paid parental leave, and other supplementary payments and benefits like rent assistance, health care cards and a lower threshold of the Medicare safety net.”

#afairerfutureforgrandchildren

There are more than 5000 grandcarers in WA but they are not eligible for the same Centrelink payments and subsidies as foster carers.

Community News is joining Wanslea’s campaign for a fairer future for grandchildren to achieve better support and funding.

Sign a letter of support at www.wanslea.asn.au/wanslea/whats_new or email ceaston@wanslea.asn.au.