Carers face 'Oliver Twist begging bowl'


"We need someone to take the pressure off us", an exhausted Liz Skerrett told an electorate officer outside PM John Howard's Sydney office on September 25 during a protest by carers and the disabled calling for more government assistance.

Skerrett cares for her 17-year-old severely autistic son Douglas. "Please, look at the surplus and look at us to see if we can keep our children at home with better respite care", she urged.

The same day, 40 protesters from the Carers' Alliance rallied outside Howard's Gladesville office as part of a national day of action to demand better disability services from federal and state governments.

Howard has promised an additional $1.9 billion in funding to the sector, and to negotiate a new agreement with the states after the last five-year Commonwealth State and Territory Disability Agreement expired in April.

However Carer's Alliance spokesperson Mary Lou Carter said on September 25 that more much funding is needed. "Every time it's always like the Oliver Twist begging bowl", she said.

"There's no plan giving consistency and security for disabled people and their carers, who also want to participate in the social and economic fabric of this country.

"This is not going to go away, people are going to continue being disabled."

Carter said the Carers' Alliance will be fielding Senate candidates in the federal election in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

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