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Changes to family care programme don’t go far enough, disability campaigners say

People who look after disabled relatives are set for pay rises under the funded family care programme reforms announced today. However, some disability campaigners say the changes don't go far enough.

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But some disability campaigners say the changes don’t go far enough. Source: 1 NEWS

The scheme for disabled people with high or very high needs is also expanding to make more family carers eligible for pay.

On April 14, funded family carers will be lifted from minimum wage to between $20.50 and $25.50 per hour, based on their qualifications.

Kimberly Graham has a disabled son who needs around the clock care.

"He gets quite agitated being still and if he's still bored he will spend a lot of his time sort of biting himself so you've got to constantly keep him entertained," she told 1 NEWS.

In April under the expansion, as a parent of an under-18-year-old she could be paid up to 40 hours a week.

Family carers aged 16 to 18 years old are also eligible for payment now.

“The reality is that a number of younger people aged 16 are looking after their loved ones at home, it’s only fair and it’s really about fairness," Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa says. 

The new plan will cost $32 million over four years.

National's health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says they agree with the framework, but still have some concerns.

Details of family carers overhaul announced

“My concern is that a government that is hemorrhaging money at the moment is going to be adequately funded for these charges,” he told 1 NEWS.

However one campaigner is disappointed that the way funding needs are assessed isn’t changing.

“You have to go through what is really a degrading and offensive process," lawyer Paul Dale told 1 NEWS.

"[Things like] how many minutes on the toilet, I mean, really. And then you have to come up with this allotment, they come up with an allotment of a totally artificial and unrealistic allowance and that’s your lot."

The changes put family carers on pay parity with formal providers.

“This is not everything that families and advocates and people have asked for, but this is most definety a step in the right direction,” Ms Salesa says