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Commonwealth Financial Planning launches new study revealing funding shortfalls for carers

19 October 2008

Commonwealth Financial Planning will launch tomorrow the findings of a major research study into the financial well-being of carers in the community as part of a new partnership with Carers Australia.

The Commonwealth Financial Planning Women Carers in Financial Stress Report (CFP Women Carers Report) is the first to examine the lifetime financial wellbeing and health of Australia’s predominantly female carer population. It underlines the need to reduce financial stress on the approximately 2.6 million unpaid carers in Australia. The value of these services is estimated at more than $30.5 billion per year[1]. Many carers are economically and socially disadvantaged.

Tim Gunning, General Manager, Commonwealth Financial Planning, said that the financial planning arm of the Commonwealth Bank sponsored the research as part of Commonwealth Financial Planning’s commitment to addressing Australian community needs.

“Commonwealth Financial Planning is proud to be a sponsor of Carers Australia. We support the organisation in its efforts to improve the livelihoods of people who provide informal care to those affected by chronic illness, the elderly and disabled in our communities,” Mr Gunning said.

“There is a clear social and economic benefit to improving the financial position of carers. We believe the Commonwealth Financial Planning Women Carers in Financial Stress Report will raise awareness on the well-being of carers,” Mr Gunning added.

The release of the Report follows the new funding commitment to carers the Australian Government announced on 14 October 2008 as part of its $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy to deal with the challenges of the global financial crisis. Under the initiative, carers receiving the Carer Payment will receive a one-off lump sum payment of $1,400 for singles and $2,100 for couples. Carers receiving the Carer Allowance, a supplementary payment, will receive an additional $1,000.

The research was conducted by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM), a research centre associated with the University of Canberra. It uses econometric modelling to demonstrate the possible social and economic gains from reducing financial stress on carers.

It reveals that informal carers have lower workforce participation rates and reduced healthy lifespans, fuelling a reduction in household incomes and retirement savings.

Some highlights from the findings include:

o         Women aged 30 years, with two or more children, caring for a child with a disability that have obtained up to a secondary school level education are expected to earn less than $100 000 over their working life. Women with these characteristics but no primary caring responsibilities will earn four times that amount over their working life. 

o         Mothers with an education level no higher than secondary school, who are not in a primary carer role, are estimated to have approximately $100 000 of superannuation in 2006 dollar terms when they turn 65 years.  In today’s world, even this amount of superannuation funds is not regarded as being sufficient to meet the needs of individuals during their retirement years.

o         Those with primary care responsibilities are expected to have less than $25 000 in their superannuation account when they reach 65 years of age.

Joan Hughes, Chief Executive Officer of Carers Australia, said: “This study demonstrates the need for coordinated strategies to improve carers’ participation in paid work or increase government financial assistance and provide carers with a means to contribute to a superannuation scheme that will help support them in their retirement.”

Australia’s informal primary carer population is estimated to be above 630,000, comprising more than 60 per cent women and 25 per cent aged over 65.

This announcement comes ahead of the official launch of Carers Week 2008 in Canberra on Monday 20 October by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon Kevin Rudd. The theme of this year’s Carers Week is “…because I care” focusing on exploring the impact of carer services on individuals and society.


Click here for a full copy of the CFP Women Carers Report.


ENDS


For more information, please contact:

Caroline Regidor
Acting Executive Manager, Wealth Management Communications
T: 02 9303 7008
M: 0419 989 800
E: cregidor@colonialfirststate.com.au


Noelle Waugh
Manager, Wealth Management Communications       
T: 02 9303 6412
M: 0415 193 624
E: nwaugh@colonialfirststate.com.au


EDITORS’ NOTES:

Commonwealth Financial Planning

Commonwealth Financial Planning offers financial advice to customers through 700 planners employed by the Commonwealth Bank operating in branches across Australia.Financial planners advise customers on: budgeting and goal setting, building a financial plan, ongoing financial independence and protecting assets. Commonwealth Financial Planning has over 18 years of experience in providing financial advice and investment services.


Carers Australia

Carers Australia works with a network of carers associations in each state and territory to improve the lives of carers. They provide important services like counselling, advice, advocacy, education and training. They also promote recognition of carers to governments, businesses and the wider public.




[1]Access Economics, 2005