Mildura Hearing – Carers for older Australians

The Royal Commission will hold a public hearing in Mildura from Monday 29 July 2019 to Wednesday 31 July 2019. The public hearing will look at the needs of family, informal and unpaid carers for older Australians, with a focus on:

  • the extent to which current aged care arrangements meet those needs
  • how support services for carers could be improved
  • respite care.

The Royal Commission will hear from a range of witnesses, including witnesses based in and around Mildura.

In particular, a number of carers of older Australians will give evidence about their experience. They will describe the challenge of living in a regional area and the obstacles to accessing support services and quality respite care. A local carer is expected to tell the Commission:

'When I first became Mum's carer, I feel like the role was thrown on me … There was a couple of times I nearly cracked with all the pressure, but I knew if I wasn't going to care for my Mum, then no one was.'

The Royal Commission will hear from carers and a panel of representatives of local aged care providers about the availability and quality of respite care, and how this impacts on carers and the people they care for.

The Commission will hear from two witnesses from the Victorian Committee for Aboriginal Aged Care and Disability, as well as two witnesses who are involved in the Mildura Carers Hub, which provides information and services to people in the locality. 

A panel of three expert witnesses will discuss their research on the contribution of carers, and the challenges they may face. Dr Lyn Phillipson, a public health academic at the University of Wollongong will give evidence that:

'Our most recent research with carers of people with dementia shows that new reforms appear to not be adequately responding to the needs of carers of people with dementia for respite information and support.'

The Royal Commission will also hear from Catherine Thompson, a Research Fellow at the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, who will also give evidence about the Centre's projects. A paper prepared by Ms Thompson and her colleagues states:

'Research suggests that the provision of unpaid care can have profound impacts on carers' participation in employment and education, on their incomes and retirement incomes, on their social relationships, and on their health and wellbeing.'

A woman who lives in regional New South Wales and who has cared for both her parents will tell the Commission: 'I found dealing with aged-care services overly complex, confusing and frustrating. There was not information sharing between departments or services that I could determine.'

The Royal Commission will also hear from representatives from the Australian Government about the ways in which respite care is structured and funded, and the support services offered to carers.

The Mildura Hearing will be held at Mildura Arts Centre and will and will begin at 10am on Monday 29 July 2019. For more information about the hearing consult the Hearings page on our website.

Proceedings can be viewed or listened to using the webcast on the Royal Commission website. Hearing transcripts will also be available at the end of each hearing day.

The Royal Commission today released Carers of Older Australians: Background Paper 6.

Published on 26 July 2019.