We are simply families like every other Australian family except that we, like one in five Australian families provide support or care to a relative or friend. We are mums and dads, husbands, wives, partners, brothers, sisters, friends and neighbours.
We are no different to any other Australian family. We have the same hopes and dreams for positive life outcomes for both ourselves and our family members. You yourself may not be a carer right now but the time will come that you most likely will become one. Our ageing population virtually ensures that our issues will eventually, become yours.
Some people mistakenly think a political party for carers is a one issue party. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have the same needs and interests in the way government uses our taxes as every Australian family. Carers Alliance has the additional interest to ensure that transport, infrastructure, schools, healthcare, housing and a myriad of other services are provided in an inclusive manner and in such a way as to benefit all Australians both now and into the future.
We can guarantee that eventually every Australian will benefit from our advocacy because we are all going to age and we will all need accessible communities when we do.
Why should you worry about the issue of care if you are not a carer?
No-one is immune from disability. At some time it will affect you personally or someone close to you. When and if this happens you need to ensure that services and supports are provided to assist you or those close to you. Disability can affect anyone – through birth, illness, mental illness, frailty, age or simply through an accident of life.
Disability can be episodic – which means short term support is required to assist a person to re-develop their capacity. Without the services Australians need many people remain disabled by conditions that they should have recovered from. Or recovered to the degree that lifelong impairment was reduced. Currently Australia offers very little assistance for people needing rehabilitation and intervention services. Many Australians remain far more impaired than they should be. People do not think about this until it happens to them or a close friend or relative.
Because of the lack of appropriate services an accident of life or illness or mental illness could see you permanently incapacitated when you should have recovered. This is one of many reasons that our representation could assist you or yours.
Our media is often ablaze with the talk of the crisis in health care and the chronic underfunding. What is not said is this chronic underfunding continues across to rehabilitation services, intervention services, disability services, aged care services and mental health services.
It is time for all Australians to be made aware that all of our service systems are in crisis, not just hospitals. Our hospitals all too often tip people out before recovery. Without the services to pick people up and to assist them, they are unlikely to recover as they should. We need to make our governments understand that the most critical thing to an individual is their capacity.
Therefore services and supports that ensure the maximisation of that capacity must be available to all in both a timely and beneficial manner.
Can we continue to abandon Australia’s children?
Australia’s children are currently not provided with the services that they need to reach their capacity. We all know the importance of education and therapeutic services early in life, without these services children cannot and will not reach their potential. Because of this many will age and will forever remain dependent on the system. They, like many of the young adults of today will be far more expensive for our communities across their entire lifetime simply because they are not being given a chance.
Not only is this poor and inequitable planning but it is also economically unsound. Our politicians see the interest of our nations children in 4 year election cycles. Once each election cycle a handful of silver is tossed into the pot but not enough to even balance those coming into the system. Early intervention services are expensive, but not providing them is to generate a staggering future load on the you the taxpayer, a load that can be averted or greatly reduced with proper planning and timely services.
Our service systems for people with disabilities and their families are a shambles. Instead of being flexible, responsive, timely, well-co-ordinated and based on rights and entitlements, they are an antiquated and dysfunctional, anchored to bureaucratic and institutionalised mindset.
Our political leaders have shown little leadership on the issues of disability service delivery. They must acknowledge and understand that the most critical thing to an individual is their capacity to direct their lives for the outcomes that best suit them and that services and supports should maximise that capacity and be available to all.
The realities that affect carer-families and people with disability do not follow 3 or 4 year elections cycles, they are with us every day.
The nation of the fair go
Australia has a reputation as being the nation of the fair go and yet there is nothing fair about the way we treat our people who have social care needs.
Every Australian should think long and hard regarding this subject as most people at some time will know or love someone abandoned by our service system. It is not until this happens to those close to you that you will understand the heartbreak of knowing that it really does not have to be like this.
Disability is simply a fact of life and should be embraced as part of our human diversity, but when disability can be prevented supports must be offered. People who do live with disability deserve to have services and supports that enable them to participate to the fullest extent possible in the social, cultural and economic life of Australia and to have the same expectations that are taken for granted by our fellow citizens without disability
Carers Alliance wants to change the system and the only way we can do this is to speak clearly with your support. It is time to start the change from within in the forum that counts – our nations parliaments.