Carer funding at risk: Concerns mount ahead of Victorian State Budget

VMCH Chief Operating Officer David Williamson

Carer funding for the vulnerable is at risk in the upcoming 2023/24 Victorian State Budget, leaving carers worried about their future. The largest provider of carer respite in Victoria, VMCH, supports 975 unpaid carers of loved ones living with dementia, disability, mental health, and age-related issues.

In the 2019-20 State Budget, the Victorian Government committed to supporting unpaid carers with $42m worth of additional care respite over four years. However, the scheme is set to conclude on 30 June 2023, and there is no commitment from the government to continue this annual funding, leaving carers worried about the future of their loved ones.

David Williamson, VMCH’s Chief Operating Officer, says that without this funding, they would be forced to exit carers from the program, which would be devastating. He believes that providing carers with opportunities to have a much-needed break from their caring roles with social activities, events, and other supports is crucial to their well-being and their ability to continue their caring role.

Amanda Pockett and her husband Nick (pictured), who care for their son Harvey, aged 26, who has an acquired brain injury, complex mental health issues, and struggles with substance abuse, say that VMCH provides them with “an outlet to step away from the chaos.” They believe that the support VMCH offers is essential to their well-being.

Maria, who cares for her husband with severe depression, says that VMCH’s carer support is a lifeline to connect with others.

“The most important thing is I know I have someone to turn to, so I don’t feel lost and alone. Without carer support, my life would be very sad,” Maria added.

The work of unpaid carers in Australia equates to almost $78 billion a year, according to a 2020 report by Deloitte Access Economics. Mr Williamson implores the government to recognize the vital role unpaid carers play in the lives of so many in its upcoming State Budget.

The 2023/24 Victorian State Budget will be delivered on Tuesday 23 May 2023.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here