Shared responsibilities are very much part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and community, and this includes caring. Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders are more likely than other Australians to take on an unpaid caring role for family members or friends.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait carers face unique problems. For example, the needs of the families and communities they support are much greater than is the case of the Australian population generally.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers themselves have high personal support needs and are also less likely to access services to support them in their caring.
One obstacle to better supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait carers is the shortage of reliable detailed information about their circumstances and needs. This was recognised in the 2009 House of Representatives Committee report Who Cares……? Report on the inquiry into better support for carers. The Report made particular note of the need for research into the profiles and specific needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers.
As a result of generous donations from Pollie Pedal 2012, Carers Australia is leading a research project called ‘Practical ways to overcome isolation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers’. This project aims to provide recommendations for practical solutions to improve the situation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers and will be released publicly in early 2013.