10 August 2016
Why is it that I am so proud to be part of the jointly published ‘Securing Their Future’ publication that was launched today – because, it’s my opinion, that carers are amongst our most dedicated and hardest-working members of the community, and possibly the most overlooked – there are currently more than 700,000 Victorians classed as carers.
As the Chief Executive Officer of State Trustees, this is a group of people that we as an organisation work closely with, in our responsibility of protecting Victoria’s most vulnerable.
Too often, carers’ specific needs are overlooked or neglected – this is a significant issue that we witness and hear about on a regular basis.
Today I was extremely proud to officially launch the first ever jointly-published edition of ‘Securing Their Future’ – an informative guide for parents, relatives and significant others caring for Victorians with a decision-making disability – alongside Victoria’s Public Advocate, Colleen Pearce, Health and Carers Parliamentary Secretary, Mary-Anne Thomas MP, Treasury and Finance Parliamentary Secretary, Daniel Mulino MP and Caroline Mulcahy, CEO of Carers Victoria.
‘Securing Their Future’ was established by Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) in 1994, however, this is the first time ‘the publication has been produced in conjunction with another organisation, and we at State Trustees are honoured to have partnered with OPA in the creation of the 2016 edition.
This is a vital tool for those concerned about the future well-being of those they care for, when they are unable to do so themselves.
The need for resources available to carers across Victoria ranges from practical advice through to patient respite – and these resources are few and far between. With such large numbers of people across our state now actively caring for loved ones, this issue deserves increased public discussion and debate.
I sincerely hope this new collaborative project between OPA and State Trustees will assist those in search of more information on how to best secure the futures of their loved ones – especially as a significant number of carers in Victoria are looking after the elderly.
With financial abuse of the elderly increasing in our community, it is an issue I am are deeply concerned about. According to the findings of research commissioned by State Trustees earlier this year, a staggering one in five Victorians – or 21 per cent – reported they’ve experienced someone taking advantage of a vulnerable family member or friend. This is a shocking statistic, which graphically illustrates the prevalence of the problem across our society.
It is an issue that we believe is under-reported – and possibly still too easy to perpetrate – especially when you consider 85 per cent of Victorian respondents to our survey agreed it was too easy for unscrupulous people to take advantage of older family members or friends for financial gain.
For our elderly people and all Victorians with a decision-making disability, and those closest to them, ‘Securing Their Future’ is a priceless asset that provides updated information on the revised power of attorney legislation and sets out in simple terms how those caring for these Victorians can protect and safeguard their futures.
As CEO of State Trustees, I am passionate about changing behaviours to better prepare Victorians for their future.
As part of this effort, we will be reaching out across the community in the coming months and years, to partner with other organisations such as OPA to provide greater access to reliable information and advice for all Victorians.
The launch of the first ever collaborative ‘Securing Their Future’ guide is an excellent starting point and I’m proud to be associated with a document created to both inform and educate the most vulnerable people in our State. I hope this is part of an ever-growing list of resources for our carers and an opportunity to start building a commitment to better supporting these dedicated and hard-working members of our communities, many of which don’t even label themselves as carers but are acting as a carer each and every day.