Grandcarers urging pollies to keep promises

Tricia Murray (Wanslea CEO), Mark Morrissey (Advocate for Grandparent Carers) and Dr Katrina Stratton (Curtin University/Wanslea). Photo: David Baylis
Tricia Murray (Wanslea CEO), Mark Morrissey (Advocate for Grandparent Carers) and Dr Katrina Stratton (Curtin University/Wanslea). Photo: David Baylis

A GROUP of WA grandparents are urging politicians to keep promises made during the Federal Election campaign.

Family services provider Wanslea led the A Fairer Future for Grandchildren campaign on behalf of grandparents raising their grandchildren, known as grandcarers.

It sought legislation changes to ensure grandcarers were recognised as formal carers and received the same Centrelink payments and subsidies as foster carers.

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Heathridge grandcarer Jan Standen personally delivered 150 letters written by grandcarers to Prime Minister Scott Morrison ahead of the election and said they were following up on commitments made by Burt MHR Matt Keogh and Senators Slade Brockman and Rachel Siewert.

“We’re further advanced than we were,” she said.

“The experience that we’ve gained out of it was quite incredible.”

Jan Standen handing the letters to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Ms Standen said the government had committed $30,000 for northern suburbs group Grandparents Rearing Grandchildren (GRG) but was disappointed they had not had responses from Mr Morrison or Attorney-General Christian Porter.

She said 104 families were part of the group and two more were joining each month.

“They need to realise it really is an epidemic,” she said.

“Kinship carers are being left behind.”

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Dr Stratton said there was more work to come as they tried to turn politicians’ promises into action and sought meetings with other MPs.

“In all the meetings we had, certainly people have been interested and engaged,” she said.

Wanslea has also joined with former Tasmanian Children’s Commissioner and grandcarers advocate Mark Morrissey to lead creation of a national alliance for grandparent carers.

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Mr Porter said he had previously met with grandcarer advocates and had another scheduled, and would soon respond to Wanslea’s meeting request.

“I understand the challenges and pressures many dedicated grandparents face when they find themselves needing to care for a child in their retirement, which is why the Government has a range of services tailored to grandparents to ensure they have the support they need,” he said.

“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.

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“In other circumstances 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.