Care is on the way for Coffs Coast carers

CARERS in the Coffs Coast region are set for some care themselves, with Nationals Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, welcoming the announcement of more than $1.3 million for respite services for the Mid North Coast.

The announcement, made by Minister for Community Services, senator Nigel Scullion, means a three year funding deal for non-Government providers of respite services for older carers.

"The particular emphasis of this funding is on providing relief for older carers who have adult disabled children they are caring for," Mr Hartsuyker said.

"Occasionally they need a break away from their children and sometimes with them, so this funding gives these four vital services the means to provide both."

Three providers of respite services in the Coffs Harbour region can now make specific plans to increase the services they offer to local carers of people with a disability.

The Northcott Society in Coffs Harbour will benefit from over $360,000 for three different respite services in the Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Nambucca and Kempsey regions.

The Wheelchair and Disabled Association of Australia has been granted over $494,000 to provide respite to carers in Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Taree, which will include both in home, centre based and overnight care.

Hunter Integrated Care has been given a grant of $275,989 to establish a cottage accommodation service in Port Macquarie which will provide 24-hour care for up to three clients and a single bed facility for emergency respite.

The centre will also be used as the base office for other forms of respite needed by carers on the Mid North Coast.

The funding comes from the Australian Government's Respite for Older Carers of Children with a Disability Program which is part of the landmark $1.8 billion Disability Assistance Package announced by Prime Minister John Howard in June 2007.

Labor candidate for Cowper Paul Sekfy said that while any money for respite services in Cowper was welcomed, he was disappointed it had taken this long.

"Labor has long been aware of the need for funding for respite and disability services in Cowper. It's surprising that in the past 11 and a half years of the Howard government, we're only just seeing this funding," Mr Sekfy said.

"I'm disappointed that this announcement has come on the eve of an election, when it should have come a lot sooner," he said.

"Labor will be announcing a comprehensive policy that will provide for both respite and disability services."

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