Gippsland Carers Association

Caring for Carers

Our vision is to improve the quality of life of Family Carers who provide care for Australians with disabilities & frailty - Care valued at over $40.9 billion per year    Read more  

Honoured for efforts on behalf of Carers 

 Gippsland Carers Association President, Jean Tops, was recently recognised for her unrelenting work championing the plight of unpaid carers.

 Nominated by the Hazelwood Rotary Club for Rotary International’s Shine On Recognition Award’, Federal Health and Sport, Minister Greg Hunt presented Mrs Tops with her award.

Hazelwood Rotary’s Program Director, Leo Billington, said Ms Tops was more than worthy of being considered for the Award. “Although being a primary carer, over the past 50 years, Jean has seen a need for community activism in support of people with disabilities and their family carers as support structures were extremely sparse”, Mr Billington said.

“Unpaid carers of disabled family members are, by design, overworked, poor, neglected, exploited and as Jean poignantly explains, “heading for extinction.”

 For more than 50 years, Mrs Tops has championed the plight of unpaid carers with a “feisty voice” acknowledged and heard by Australian government agencies at all levels.”

Mrs Tops first son was born with phenylketonuria (known as PKU), a rare degenerative condition.  Her second child, Errol was also born with PKU.  Her third child, Gerard was born without the condition.

When Jean’s fourth child, Moya was born deaf, almost blind and suffering heart problems along with a profound intellectual disability due to Rubella virus Mrs Tops primary focus was determined. As a full-time carer, Mrs Tops became an outspoken advocate for unpaid carers.

 Mr Billington said others credited Ms Tops as finding “ways around bureaucratic brick walls to set precedents for children with profound disability” Mrs Tops founded and has been president of the Gippsland Carers Association since 1997. It encompasses the Baw Baw, Latrobe, Wellington, East and South Gippsland and Bass coast local government areas, and is now operating in the City of Casey and Cardinia Shires..   

 Across this large area are 27,000 families who have a primary carer.  Mrs Tops is also responsible for developing the Gippsland Carers Place, a drop-in centre for carers to obtain information, education, and promote links to essential services. 

Most importantly, the centre gives peer support and advocacy for carers and their families.  Mrs Tops volunteers at the centre, which is open three days per week.

Mr Billington said the Hazelwood Rotary Club was proud to highlight Ms Tops selfless tenacity as she continues to lobby for unpaid carers despite that rheumatoid arthritis is slowly crippling her capacity to maintain the vigour and determination shown over five decades.

LV Express JULY 13, 2017 -written by Leo Billington, Hazelwood Rotary

                                                         Federal Health and Sport Minister Greg Hunt ptesents Shine On Award to GCA  President Jean Tops (Rotary Districts photo)  

  Shine On Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gippsland Carers-for Information, Links to Services, Peer Support and Advocacy                                                               
Carers Place, 185 Commercial Rd, Morwell, is open every Tues/Wed/Thurs from 9.30am-4.00pm.  No appointment necessary.      

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