MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education)
Incorporated pursuant to order of Council of 7 September:
Today I rise to reflect on the important work of Dementia Australia, the peak body of people living with dementia, their families and carers.
Its recent findings, that a dementia diagnosis results in discrimination, isolation and loneliness not just for those living with the disease but their carers too, will resonate with many Australians.
Nearly half a million Australians have a form of dementia, and almost 1.6 million are involved in their care.
This figure will double in the next 25 years, increasingly touching all our lives, as it has mine.
It’s no surprise that Dementia Australia was founded by carers.
Our unpaid carers are crucial supporters for so many in our community, looking after a family member or friend who needs them, whether due to chronic disease, mental illness, disability or old age.
The lived experience of many carers is that the pandemic has thrown up a huge challenge for them personally.
It’s a hallmark of this government that we are supporting carers to help them manage their own wellbeing, so vital to their work and to maintaining a semblance of normal life.
In October’s Carers Week the Andrews Labor government delivered more than $2.6 million to organisations and groups to help carers reconnect and to promote their physical and mental health as we move to living with COVID-19.
Dementia Australia is more than an organisation. It is a community of committed and specialist staff and volunteers. Their compassionate and holistic approach to ensure people living with dementia are supported to live a high-quality life with meaning, purpose and value underpins all that they do.
The integrity and empathy demonstrated by caseworkers and the extraordinary team at Dementia Australia is equally important to the families and friends of those living with dementia.
I thank all of the staff and the more than 736 000 people who give their time and energy to unpaid care and congratulate this government for the work it’s doing to develop a Victorian carer strategy.