Setting the standard

AS Carers Week draws national attention to the plight of carers this week, several Victorian regions have looked to adopt an innovative carers network model spearheaded by Gippsland advocates.

Gippsland Carers Association president Jean Tops said the local group would visit Mornington Peninsula tomorrow and had addressed 150 Loddon-Mallee carers in Castlemaine on Monday to help guide those regions in their efforts to establish regional carers support networks based on the Gippsland pilot.

A tireless advocate for the carer cause, and a carer herself, Ms Tops said the GCA had its sights set on implementing a “fully-funded” network here.

The group was busy “talking to governments” in an attempt to secure support and would “seek a pre-election commitment from the State Government for funding for the poor rural regions of Victoria, who have the most need for support services, first,” she said.

“We want $2 million per year ($500,000 spread over four regions) and in our view that’s postage stamp money,” Ms Tops said.

“The money would be in support of unpaid family carers who contribute so much to the state economy.”

Regional businesses and “community sources” can expect to be targeted as GCA swings into fundraising action.

“We want everyone to come on board – all businesses who benefit from the contribution of carers, community groups, corporate groups… anytime, anywhere and everywhere they could be a carer and we want them all to recognise the $42 billion contribution to the national economy carers make every year,” Ms Tops said.

Ms Tops welcomed the national focus which now recognised the challenges faced by carers.

“We are working very hard to ensure our decision makers hear us,” she said.

For more information about GCA visit