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 Carer Support Service

As part of the 2015-2016 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 Carer Gateway.

In September 2018, the Department of Social Services released new information regarding the implementation of the Integrated Carer Support Service

  • From October 2018 new digital services for carers will be designed, tested and rolled out through the Carer Gateway website, including: digital counselling and peer support (delivered by CatholicCare Sydney), online coaching (delivered by Wellways Australia) and online education resources (delivered by Carers Australia)
  • From September 2019 a network of regional delivery partners will commence delivering face to face services to carers across Australia
  • Following on from an April 2018 consultation regarding where the regional delivery partner boundaries should fall nationally, DSS has announced 16 service areas based on Primary Health Network regions, including 4 in NSW

The Carer Programs – What is Changing? fact sheet provides an overview the current state of carer support and how this will transition to the Integrated Carer Support Service.

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.