Carers in rural Australia: cementing our communities

12 October 2015

As National Carers Week begins, the NRHA encourages people to consider a report card on carers in rural and remote areas of the nation.

Australia has around 2.7 million unpaid carers, with some 30 per cent of them in rural, regional and remote areas. Nationally they will provide 1.9 billion hours of care in 2015, with a replacement value of $60.3 billion - some 3.8 per cent of GDP.

The proportion of people who are carers does not vary much by region (city-country).

Rates of volunteering and informal caring, where a family member, friend or neighbour takes on the carer role, are in fact higher in country areas. This might be seen as a natural part of the 'community' experienced in country areas. However the service and care provided by these means should never be taken for granted, nor used as an excuse for not providing the same essential services to rural areas as to the cities.

Carers in non-metropolitan areas report having strong social networks for information and advice. They are more likely to personally know someone they could ask for information and advice than carers and non-carers in Major Cities.

However carers in rural and remote areas obviously have a real challenge in being able to access a range of services they and their charge need, like regular medical, nursing and allied health care, ready access to Centrelink and social services.

Carers in rural and remote areas also have lower rates of employment than non-carers. In Outer Regional and Remote areas 21 per cent of carers live in jobless households, compared with 12 per cent of non-carers. This means they are more likely to experience financial hardship. 

Carers in more remote areas tend to be younger, with few of them over 65.  Over 35 percent of carers aged between 15 – 24 live in rural or remote Australia (www.youngcarers.net.au).

In Outer Regional and Remote areas, carers experience higher rates of disability or long-term health conditions than those in the same regions who are not carers.   

Visit www.carersweek.com.au for information on how you can ‘show you care’. Contact someone you know who is providing full-time care and who hasn't heard from you in a while.

Media Release Contact Info: 

Gordon Gregory (Chief Executive)
02 6285 4660

Geri Malone (Chairperson)
0409 899 050