Young Aussies who take on extra responsibilities caring for their loved ones will see a major cash boost to help them study in the May Budget.
The government has promised an additional $10 million for Carers Australia to increase financial assistance to young carers so they can continue their education.
The Young Carer Bursary Program provides financial assistance to young carers aged 12-25, and is intended to reduce the need to undertake part-time or full-time work while studying.
The number of bursaries offered over the period 2023-2025 will increase to around 1,600 each year as a result of the increased funding.
At the same time, the value of each bursary will also increase by more than 25 per cent, from $3,000 to $3,768. This is the first increase since the program began in 2014.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth said demand for the Young Carer Bursary Program had consistently exceeded the number of bursaries available.
“We don’t want young carers missing out on their education or missing the opportunity to connect with friends,” Rishworth said.
“This funding boost will increase the number of bursaries available by almost 60 per cent.”
Rishworth said young carers were at high risk of long-term unemployment or under employment, and often relied on long-term welfare dependence.
“The bursaries promote future financial security for many of our young carers across Australia,” Rishworth said.
Young carers who have been approved and are currently waitlisted for this year’s program, but were going to miss out, will be contacted in May to arrange payment.
Carers Australia CEO Alison Brook said the 2022 Carer Wellbeing Survey revealed young carers were more likely to seek assistance because they were experiencing higher levels of financial hardship than other groups of carers.
“Young carers who have accessed the program tell us the bursaries have helped to relieve the financial pressures they experience so they can focus on their studies, develop academic and workforce-ready skills, balance competing demands, and also improve their emotional, social and mental well-being,” Brook said.