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 NSW Department of Communities and Justice (formerly the NSW Department of Family and Community Services) 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.

The NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) is currently engaging with carers and other stakeholders to co-design the next ten year strategy for NSW. 

Carers and stakeholders can provide input by:

  • Completing a survey 
  • Attending a co-design workshop 
  • Facilitating a local conversation about carers’ needs and experiences, using the Conversation Tool kit

Visit the Department's website for more information.

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. In 2016 the Act was reviewed, with revised legislation including a revised NSW Carers Charter enacted in June 2017.

Find out more about the Act.

Australian Government initiatives

Integrated Carer Support Service

As part of the 2015-2016 Federal Budget, the Australian Government announced the development of an Integrated Plan for Carer Support Services (the Plan), commencing with the launch of a national phone service and website for all carers: the National Carer Gateway.

Following extensive consultation and development, a range of new services will be made available via the Carer Gateway: online, over the phone and in person.

  • Online information, peer support and coaching materials are already available at www.carergateway.gov.au
  • Phone counselling is already available by calling 1800 422 737 or requesting a call back at www.carergateway.gov.au
  • Several types of in-person support will be available locally by calling 1800 422 737 from April 2020

For more information:

In the coming months, Carers NSW will be engaging with carers and other stakeholders regarding the system changes and transition from existing services. If you have a concern about the rollout of the ICSS, contact the Carers NSW Policy Team via our Policy Advice Form.

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.