Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (12:39): (1493) My constituency question is directed to the Minister for Education, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers and Deputy Premier, the Honourable James Merlino. My question relates to the portfolio responsibilities of disability, ageing and carers.
Every day more than 736 000 Victorians provide extraordinary support and care for those who need it the most. We celebrated National Carers Week from 10 to 16 October this year to recognise and celebrate Victoria’s carers. Carers support their family members or friends who need care due to chronic illness, mental illness, disability or old age. The coronavirus pandemic has also added to their work as carers. The Andrews Labor government is showing its thanks to the selfless carers through the Supporting Carers Locally Grants Program.
My question to the minister is: can the minister please provide me an update on how the Supporting Carers Locally Grants Program will benefit the carers of the Western Metropolitan Region? We are delivering $2.6 million to support carers to help them reconnect when it is safe to do so. I thank all the carers for the selfless unpaid support they are providing.
Anthony Carbines MP, Minister for Child Protection and Family Services, Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers (28 January 2022):
I thank the Member for Western Metropolitan Region for her question and her acknowledgement of the role Victoria’s carers play every day to support those they love. The Andrews Labor Government is committed to creating a fairer and more inclusive state for all Victorians, especially carers. I am pleased to say that Gateway Social Support Options has been funded in Round 2 of the Supporting Carers Locally Grants Program to support carers in western metropolitan areas.
Gateway Social Support Options in Kingsville is being funded $40,000 to provide physical health programs of exercise and strength training. There will be two exercise programs run weekly over a ten-week period providing 600 hours of physical activity for carers.
Gateways Support Services, a separate organisation, is also supporting carers in western metropolitan areas through a grant of $40,000 for camp holidays. Young people with autism and their carers will attend a camp including down time for each, facilitated workshops to address carer self-care, and a facilitated program of supports, including guidance on how to form and maintain an ongoing peer support group. Activities will give carers and care recipients an opportunity to relax, reflect and learn. Another session will provide information on disability support services available in the local community.
A third grant of $40,000 is going to Orygen to scope gaps in support for young carers and set up a peer support program and referral pathways for young carers, often unrecognised or under recognised in our community. Another grant of $40,000 to the Vietnamese Community in Australia – Victoria Chapter is providing support to Vietnamese carers to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
A fifth grant of $40,000 goes to Vietnamese Families with Special Needs Incorporation. This grant supports a “Be Active Be Happy” program for carers of people with a disability, who experience isolation and language barriers, to connect with other carers whilst engaging in physical activities to increase their health, wellbeing, and connection to their local community.
Midwest Area Mental Health Service has received a grant of $36,000 to develop, implement and evaluate a peer led support group for carers of people with mental health needs, providing carers with social connection, information about local supports and facilitating linkages with other carer supports. A seventh grant of $40,000 to Australian Multicultural Community Services Inc upscales an existing carer network providing activities, social connection, and wellbeing support for carers from a range of diverse backgrounds.
These grants total $276,000 in support for the carers of the western metropolitan area.