Advocating for Superannuation for Carers in the Upcoming Federal Election

  • Advocating for Superannuation for Carers in the Upcoming Federal Election image

Carers ACT, Carers Australia and the National Carer Network are proud to announce the launch of a critical advocacy campaign for the 2025 federal election. The focus of this campaign is to secure the inclusion of superannuation contributions for carers. This initiative stems from the pivotal findings of the “Caring Costs Us” report, which underscores the substantial economic impact that unpaid caring has on the lifetime income and retirement savings of Australian carers.

The report reveals that unpaid carers face a significant financial burden, with a primary carer losing on average $392,500 in lifetime earnings and $170,000 in superannuation by the age of 67. The paper also highlights the broader economic implications of unpaid caring, noting that over 2.65 million Australians provide essential care daily to individuals with various needs, including disability and chronic illness. These carers significantly enrich our communities, yet many experience financial stress and poor employment outcomes.

This stark economic reality fuels our campaign, as we seek to advocate for government policy changes that include the payment of the Superannuation Guarantee on the Carer Payment. This change would not only provide immediate financial relief but also ensure long-term economic sustainability for carers, reducing their future reliance on the Age Pension.

The “Caring Costs Us” report outlines several policy options, including enhancing the Carer Allowance and adjusting income support through the Carer Payment to better reflect the average weekly earnings. These changes are projected to deliver considerable benefits to carers and the economy.

An investment in informal carers now is an investment in future system sustainability.

Policy Option 1:
Government pays Superannuation Guarantee Contribution on the Carer Payment and delivers a net saving to the federal budget.

By making a superannuation guarantee contribution on the Carer Payment, the superannuation balances of over 300,000 Australians would grow, reducing their future reliance on the Aged Pension to the point that, on a lifetime cost basis, this measure would deliver a saving.

Costed estimate: The report indicated it would cost over $700 million in the first year to increase payments for over 300,000 carers. The average superannuation balance for this group would increase by $52,500 – reducing Age Pension costs by up to $84,000.

Policy Option 2:
Increase the Carer Allowance

The value of the Carer Allowance has significantly decreased over time, creating a financial disincentive to people taking up or remaining in informal care roles.

Increasing the Carer Allowance would offset some of the financial losses currently incurred by informal carers, and potentially expand the number of people willing to take up such a role into the future. This represents a valuable strategy to contribute to longer term sustainability as demand for health and social care escalates.

Costed estimates: The Caring Costs Us report modeled two scenarios:

  1. The Carer Allowance was restored to 25% of the Aged Pension for those carers not in receipt of the Carer Payment at an estimated cost of $1.9 billion in the first year;
  2. Increase the Carer Allowance to return it to one third of the average basic care subsidy for residential aged care, which, when the anticipated benefit of growth in carer numbers was taken into account, would cost $5.4 billion.

An increase in the value of the Carer Allowance would offset over 30% of the lifetime income currently lost to primary carers, and for one in four, offset over 50% of those losses

As we move towards the federal election, Carers ACT stands with Carers Australia and the National Carer Network in pushing for these essential reforms. We believe that investing in carers now is an investment in our future system sustainability.

To support this campaign or for more information, visit the Carers Australia Superannuation for Carers campaign page and download the “Caring Costs Us” report and associated fact sheets. Join us in making a significant difference in the lives of millions of Australian carers.

Together, we can change the future for carers, ensuring they receive the recognition and support they rightly deserve.

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