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

Carer Gateway (Integrated Carer Support Service)

From 6 April 2020, a range of new supports will be available to family and friend carers in your local area, with the Australian Government investing funding in support services for carers across Australia.

It is noted that some service delivery will be impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with current limitations on face to face contact. 

Delivered nationally through Carer Gateway, the following services will be available to anyone who provides ongoing personal care, support and assistance to a family member or friend who is living with a disability, a long term medical condition, mental illness, alcohol or other drug dependency or who is frail due to age.

  • Carer support planning
  • Peer support
  • Carer counselling
  • Carer directed support packages
  • Emergency respite care

Online and phone based supports are already available, and carers can access the additional services listed above from 6 April 2020 by calling the national Carer Gateway number on 1800 422 737 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm) or visiting

Carer Gateway provides support through a network of regional Carer Gateway Service Providers. No matter where a carer is located, they can call Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737 and be directed to the Carer Gateway Service Provider in their region. NSW is divided into four regions.

The Carer Gateway Service Providers for each region are:

  • NSW 1 - The Benevolent Society
  • NSW 2 - Wellways Australia
  • NSW 3 - LiveBetter Services Ltd
  • NSW 4 - Carers NSW

Carers NSW is the Carer Gateway Service Provider in the Hunter New England, Central Coast and North Coast areas of New South Wales (known as ‘NSW 4’). 

Working in close collaboration with subcontracted partner organisations, carers, local service providers and community organisations across the region, Carers NSW will deliver holistic, tailored support designed to improve carers’ wellbeing.

In addition to our role as a Carer Gateway Service Provider in the NSW 4 region, Carers NSW continues to provide a range of other projects and programs statewide as the peak non-government organisation for all carers in New South Wales. 

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.