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Mental Health Carers Statement

House of Representatives Inquiry into Recognition of Unpaid Carers

The peak body for mental health carers in Queensland, Arafmi, welcomes the release of the final report of the House of Representatives Inquiry into the Recognition of Unpaid Carers.

Arafmi would like to thank the committee members for their genuine commitment to examining this issue, and in particular extend our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of former Committee Chair, the late Peta Murphy MP, who led the inquiry until her passing in December 2023.

Unpaid Mental Health carers, most often family and friends, need both better recognition and rights, which officially establish them as a crucial part of the recovery of the people experiencing mental ill-health whom they care for.

If adopted, the recommendations in this report will go some way to establishing official recognition of unpaid carers, and their rights, including the right to be provided information about the person they care for in order to provide care. Arafmi supports recommendations to specifically recognise unpaid carers in First Nations communities and among people with culturally and linguistically diverse connections, young carers and LGBTIQA+ carers.

Importantly, carers often require their own support, and this report recommends measures to bolster existing support and to simplify the access requirements.

Acknowledging and supporting unpaid carers in the workplace is also of crucial importance, and Arafmi welcomes the recommendation to introduce an income tax credit for carers returning to the paid workforce.

Arafmi also welcomes the recommendation to commission an ongoing community education campaign, noting that this would help reduce stigma.

Including unpaid carers, families and friends throughout the design and development of mental health services would also help to ensure those services offer best-practice approaches for people using the services, and their unpaid carers.

From the outset, the committee had ruled out any examination of the adequacy of the carer payment. Arafmi believes there are many issues to examine in relation to the carer payment and hopes it will be the subject of a thorough review in the near future.

Arafmi understands these recommendations will form part of the development of the new National Carer Strategy, which is due later this year. Arafmi looks forward to sharing the views of mental health carers in that process.

For more information contact advocacy@arafmi.com.au or visit arafmi.com.au

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