Why policy change is needed
There are at least 2.7 million unpaid carers in Australia; more than 10% of the population. They provide over $1 billion worth of intensive care services each and every week.
Australia’s $60 billion mental health economy would cease to function without the contribution of the more than 240,000 unpaid carers who support people living with mental ill-health in Australia.
Care at this scale is not just a ‘family matter’. Australia’s unpaid carers supply a vast and irreplaceable structural support to our economy, but at great cost to themselves.
Research reveals the extent to which long-term economic insecurity, reduced access to education and skills training and poorer physical and mental health outcomes are the price carers pay for bearing this responsibility.
Young mental health carers are acutely disadvantaged in terms of participation in education and employment. Compared to other young people aged 5-14, their school attendance is significantly lower.
Primary carers are a hidden and undervalued workforce. Hundreds of thousands of Australians rely on them. Our economy is structurally reliant on them.
As our society’s need for care grows apace with our changing population profile, we need innovative, evidence-based public policies that recognise and support carers - at home, in the workplace, and in society.