Mr Gray, who began a Scotland-wide listening tour of community care projects earlier this week in Fife, welcomed Carers' Week as an important way of highlighting the vital work done by carers and the invaluable contribution they make to Scottish society.
He made clear his commitment to ensure that carers' issues are given a high priority in the Scottish executive.
'I regard supporting and meeting the needs of carers as absolutely vital. The launch of the National Carers' Strategy in February set out, for the first time, a comprehensive package of policies aimed at recognising and supporting carers. I want to take the strategy forward under the new Parliament and build on it to ensure that Scottish carers are given the support they deserve.
'In this I know I will be supported by my ministerial colleagues. Jackie Baillie, the deputy minister for social inclusion, equality and the voluntary sector. I look forward to meeting carers and carers' organisations and hearing more about their experiences.'
The National Strategy For Carers focuses on how carers can be informed, involved and empowered and how employers can help carers combine paid work with their caring responsibilities. It sets out what carers should be entitled to expect from service providers and how they can be helped by services in the neighbourhood in which they live. It also details proposals to support young carers.
Scottish ministers will shortly consider how the strategy might be taken forward in Scotland.