Freya Saich, Policy and Development Officer at Carers NSW to join us.

Freya joins us at the 3rd Annual Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference and will present on the topic of ‘The Carer Payment: a double-edged sword for young carers’.

There are over 230,000 young carers in Australia. Young carers are people aged 25 years and under who provide unpaid care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, mental illness, drug or alcohol dependency, chronic condition, terminal illness, or who is frail. There is large body of evidence which indicates that young carers often experience significant socioeconomic disadvantage and are more likely to live in lone-parent households. Consequently, many adopt responsibilities beyond their years as both a breadwinner and a carer to a loved one. This paper will highlight the issues faced by a sub-group of this population; those young carers receiving the means-tested Centrelink Carer Payment.

Whilst the Carer Payment assists those that are financially disadvantaged, it also acts as a double-edged sword, particularly for young carers. Those in receipt of the Carer Payment can only work or study for a maximum of 25 hours (including travel time) without compromising their benefit. This restriction severely limits a young carer’s ability to work and study with implications for a young carer’s future. Young carers have lower levels of educational attainment, impacting on their ability to obtain employment and their subsequent life-time earning capacity. Furthermore, there is significant evidence to suggest that people continue to require welfare payments even after the caring role ends. This paper seeks to highlight the issues that young carers face when receiving the Carer Payment by limiting their ability to participate in educational and employment opportunities and how young carers should be facilitated into education and employment without being financially disadvantaged.

The 3rd Annual Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference will be held on 1 – 2 December 2016 at the Mercure Brisbane. This year’s theme is Finding Solutions and focuses on business working together with employment facilitators and agencies to create positive outcomes for Australia’s long-term unemployed.

For more information on the 3rd Annual Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference and to secure your registration visit the conference website today.