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Budget delivers little respite for carers

The Rudd Government has not delivered enough for carers in the budget, say the Australian Greens.

"After all of Mr Rudd's assurances about protecting carers in this budget, he has failed to live up to those promises," said Senator Rachel Siewert.

"Many carers are still expected to live on substantially less than the federal minimum wage. The first Rudd budget does nothing to improve the standard of living of those carers who are doing it tough."

"Carers who are reliant on receiving the carer payment plus the carer allowance saw their income rise by less than 3.5 per cent in the year to March 2008. However, over that same period, the percentage rise of essential cost of living items such as bread, milk, rent and electricity was more than double that."

"Although there has been a welcome increase in respite care, if we actually had a systematic and strategic approach to supporting carers, they would not need as much respite. As usual, the Government are treating the symptoms, not the causes," said Senator Siewert.

"While of course we support giving more money to carers, we have deep reservations about a system based on one-off payments. We need to be increasing the weekly payments to Carers, and putting in place better long-term support. Once again we have a government that has failed to adequately address the real needs of carers in our community."

"Carers in this country deserve so much more. They deserve a government that is prepared to take seriously the difficulties faced by carers trying to make ends meet on inadequate support in a time of rising inflation," she said.

"We needed to systematically address the structure of support we have in place for carers, in order to improve their financial security and quality of life. With a growing number of people requiring care this is becoming, more and more, a critical and crucial issue," concluded Senator Siewert.

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