An assistance program for West Australian grandparents who care full-time for their grandchildren has been extended for 12 months after the state government was accused of being mean for axing it.
Annual funding of $125,000 for the Wanslea Family Services-administered scheme, which helps grandparents whose own children are struggling with problems including substance abuse, was due to end on June 30.
Community Services Minister Simone McGurk announced a one-year reprieve in parliament on Tuesday, saying there were 3500 officially recognised grandcarers in WA and more in informal arrangements.
Opposition spokesman for child protection Nick Goiran welcomed the news, but said the support should be extended for longer.
He labelled the funding cut in the May budget “heartless and ill-considered”.
“These grandparents do an amazing job fulfilling a role that would otherwise be provided and funded by the government, so they are in fact saving the government money,” Mr Goiran said in a statement.
“The Grandcarers Assistance Program funds respite services to give grandcarers a break and support them to keep doing the valuable job they were, in most cases, not expecting to have to do.”