Government initiatives and reforms

Governments in Australia have developed legislation, policy and initiatives to recognise and support carers at both a national and state level.

NSW Government initiatives and reforms

NSW Carers Strategy 2014-2019

The NSW Carers Strategy is a five year plan to improve the position of carers in NSW. The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) led the development of the NSW Carers Strategy with assistance from carers, the Ministry for Health and Carers NSW.

Find out more about the Strategy.

NSW Carers (Recognition) Act 2010

The introduction of the NSW Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 was an historic moment for carers in NSW, and an important first step toward better recognition and support for carers. The Act provides an official definition of the term ‘carer’ and outlines the obligations on public sector agencies to uphold a thirteen-point NSW Carers Charter.

Find out more about the Act.

Australian Government initiatives

Integrated Plan for Carer Support Services

As part of the 2015-2016 Budget, the Australian Government announced the development of an Integrated Plan for Carer Support Services (the Plan). The Department of Social Services (DSS) is currently working on the Plan, which will follow on from the previous National Carer Strategy, and will outline practical actions to recognise, support and sustain the work of unpaid carers. 

DSS have stated that a key priority of the Plan will be to streamline and better coordinate carer support services, and to ensure carer needs are recognised and supported as major reforms occur in the aged care and disability sectors. Visit the DSS website for more information.

National Carer Gateway

As a first stage of this Plan, the Government has committed $33.7 million over four years to deliver a National Carer Gateway, national website and phone service to help carers. The National Carer Gateway has been operating since December 2015 and provides a nationally identifiable place for all carers to go for information, support and referral to services. It consists of a website with a service finder tool and a national call centre. 

A Carer Gateway Advisory Group provides advices and informs the development and implementation of the National Carer Gateway. Membership of the Carer Gateway Advisory Group have been drawn from service providers, peak bodies and individuals who have carer-specific expertise. Chief Executive Officer of Carers Australia, Ms Ara Cresswell, has been appointed as Co-Chair of the Group.

Carers can call 1800 422 737, Monday to Friday, between 8am and 6pm to contact the Gateway, or visit the Carer Gateway website

Payments for Carers

The Australian Government provides a range of benefits, payments and concessions to eligible carers. This includes the Carer Payment (income support payment for people whose caring responsibilities prevent them from undertaking substantial paid employment) and Carer Allowance (income supplement for people who provide daily care and attention at home to a person with disability or a severe medical condition). 

Carers receiving the Carer Payment are also entitled to a Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) which allows them to receive various benefits from the Commonwealth and State governments. For more information, visit the Department of Human Services website.

Carer Recognition Act 2010

The national Carer Recognition Act 2010 came into effect on 18 November 2010. The aim of the Act is to increase recognition and awareness of carers and to acknowledge the valuable contribution they make to Australian society. 

It establishes who is a carer and sets up reporting and consultation arrangements for certain public service agencies. The Act also contains the Statement for Australia's Carers which sets out ten principles to guide how public service agencies and associated providers should treat and consider carers in policy development and program and service delivery.

The Act complements the carer recognition legislation that already exists in some states and territories. For example, in NSW the NSW Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 was assented to on 19 May 2010. The NSW Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 is similar to the national legislation, but applies to NSW.

Visit the Federal Register of Legislation website to read the Act and the DSS website to read the guidelines.

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Carers NSW acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, Elders past and present and all Aboriginal people.