A funding boost of almost $10 million by the Albanese Labor Government will allow Carers Australia to increase financial assistance to young carers so they can continue their education while caring for a loved one.
The Young Carer Bursary Program provides financial assistance to young carers aged 12-25, who are taking on extra caring responsibilities for their loved ones. The bursaries are intended to reduce the need to undertake part-time or full-time work while studying.
The number of bursaries offered over the period 2023 to 2025 will increase to around 1600 each year as a result of the increased funding.
At the same time, the value of each bursary will also increase by more than 25 per cent from $3000 to $3768. This is the first increase since the program commenced in 2014.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said demand for the Young Carer Bursary Program has consistently exceeded the number of bursaries available.
“We don’t want young carers missing out on their education or missing the opportunity to connect with friends,” Minister Rishworth said.
“This funding boost will increase the number of bursaries available by almost 60 per cent.”
Minister Rishworth said the young carer cohort is at high risk of long-term unemployment or under employment, including long-term welfare dependence, associated with difficulties in engaging in education.
“The bursaries promote future financial security for many of our young carers across Australia,” Minister Rishworth said.
Young carers who have been approved and are currently waitlisted for this year’s program, but were going to miss out, will be contacted in May to arrange payment.
Carers Australia CEO Alison Brook said the 2022 Carer Wellbeing Survey revealed young carers were more likely to seek assistance because they were experiencing higher levels of financial hardship than other groups of carers.
“Young carers who have accessed the program tell us the bursaries have helped to relieve the financial pressures they experience so they can focus on their studies, develop academic and workforce ready skills, balance competing demands, and also improve their emotional, social and mental wellbeing,” Ms Brook said.
Young carer bursaries have been delivered by Carers Australia, the national peak body representing Australia’s 2.65 million unpaid carers, since 2014. The bursaries have supported more than 9000 young carers to date.
Applications for next year’s Young Carer Bursary Program open on 18 July 2023 and can be made through the Young Carers network.