Disability Services and Mental Health Minister Curtis Pitt today launched the Queensland Carer Action Plan 2011-14.

Mr Pitt said the action plan focuses on delivering supports and services to meet the varying needs of Queensland’s estimated 500,000 carers.

“Carers Week 2011 (16-22 October) is the perfect time to launch the Queensland Carer Action Plan,” he said.

“This is a plan which provides a blueprint to ensure Queensland carers get the support they need in their role as carers.

“It’s based on three areas: recognition and respect for carers, support for carers and carers’ participation.

“Priorities include improving carers’ health and wellbeing, increased community access for carers and supporting carer participation in education, training and the workforce.

“Carers often need help and support to juggle their role as carers with their education or work commitments, or simply to find time to spend with family and friends.

“Supporting carers is everyone’s business and that’s what this plan is all about.”

Mr Pitt also launched the Carer Tribute Gallery which will shine a spotlight on Queensland carers.

“In 2010 the estimated replacement value of informal care provided across Australia was $40.9 billion,” he said.

“But the true value and contribution of carers is both inestimable and irreplaceable.

“That’s why we’re acknowledging the contribution of Queensland carers through the Carer Tribute Gallery.

“I want to encourage Queenslanders to nominate a carer to the tribute gallery.”

Mr Pitt said the Bligh Government had a strong track record of support for Queensland carers.

“The value of carers is officially recognised through the Carers (Recognition) Act 2088,” he said.

“We’ve also introduced a Carers Charter and established the Queensland Carers Advisory Council and Office for Carers.

“And through the Carer Business Discount Card, we provide eligible carers with discounts on goods and services from participating businesses.

“This is in addition to the Companion Card, which promotes fair ticketing for people with a disability.”

People can nominate a carer for the tribute gallery by submitting the carer’s photo and story to www.communities.qld.gov.au/carerstories up until 31 December 2011.

To view the Queensland Carer Action Plan 2011-14, visit: www.qld.gov.au/disability