Speak up for carers

There are several ways that carers and other stakeholders can join with Carers NSW in improving recognition and support for carers by governments, service providers, employers and the community.

Carer Representative program

Carers who want to speak up for carers and improve the system for all carers and the people they support can apply to become a Carers NSW Carer Representative. Carer Representatives are specially trained volunteers who are offered opportunities to represent carers and Carers NSW in a variety of settings, from public forums, to government committees, to media interviews.

It is Carers NSW policy to reimburse the travel expenses of Carer Representatives and where appropriate remunerate them for their time.

Carers who apply to be a Carer Representative are not automatically accepted but are first required to submit an Expression of Interest form which is reviewed internally by Carers NSW and finally approved by the Chief Executive Officer. All Carer Representatives will be required to undertake free Carer Representative training.

For carers: To apply to be a Carer Representative, or for more information about becoming a Carer Representative, contact our Carer Representative Project Officer at carerrepresentatives@carersnsw.org.au or on 1800 242 636.

For organisations: To request a Carer Representative to participate in your organisation’s event or activity, contact our Carer Representative Project Officer at carerrepresentatives@carersnsw.org.au or on 1800 242 636. We cannot guarantee that someone suitable will be available but will do our best to explore the options.

Strategic Carers Action Network (SCAN)

The Strategic Carers Action Network (SCAN) is a forum for non-government organisations and government agencies to collectively identify and address carer related issues across NSW. SCAN has six monthly meetings and ongoing email correspondence out of session.

The SCAN Terms of Reference state that SCAN will:

  • Establish a united voice to identify and address carer related issues across NSW
  • Develop greater awareness of carer issues
  • Take a collaborative approach in responding to what carers locally, state and nationally have said they want
  • Develop coordinated advocacy about carer issues using appropriate mechanisms and processes
  • Provide a forum for service providers to work together and utilise each other’s skills and experience to better support carers within their own services and other areas
  • Develop mechanisms for sharing information for carers, between and across agencies
  • Establish time specific working groups on specific projects and policy matters as relevant
  • From time to time, produce documents advocating positions to governments, departments and other bodies, written on Carers NSW letterhead and signed by the Carers NSW CEO. These documents will either be co-signed by SCAN member organisations or name the agreeing SCAN member organisations (whichever method has been agreed upon). A SCAN member may choose not to endorse an advocacy position, in which case they may have their name/logo removed from the document and/or have their non-endorsement noted in the document.

SCAN plays an integral role in realising Carers NSW vision of all carers in NSW being recognised, valued and supported by the community and by governments.

If your organisation would like to become a member of SCAN, contact our Policy Team for more information at policy@carersnsw.org.au or on 1800 242 636.

Current SCAN member organisations as of March 2017 include:

  • Advance Diversity Services
  • Afford
  • Alzheimer's Australia (NSW)
  • Anglicare
  • Arthritis & Osteoperosis NSW
  • Autism Spectrum Australia
  • Benevolent Society
  • Cancer Council NSW
  • CanRevive
  • Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA)
  • Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS)
  • Council of the Ageing NSW (COTA NSW)
  • Ethnic Community Services Co-operative (ECSC)
  • Ethnic Communities’ Council of NSW (ECCNSW)
  • Fabry Australia
  • Meals on Wheels Association of NSW
  • Mental Health Carers NSW (formerly ARAFMI NSW)
  • Motor Neurone Disease Association of NSW (MND NSW)
  • Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association
  • Neami National
  • Older Women’s Network NSW
  • One Door (formerly Carer Assist)
  • Parkinsons NSW
  • Physical Disability Council of NSW (PDCN)
  • Rare Voices Australia
  • Seniors Rights Service
  • Siblings Australia
  • Spinal Cord Injuries Australia
  • St Vincent de Pauls Society
  • Uniting

Carer Respite Alliance

The Carer Respite Alliance is an action focused working group of SCAN established by Carers NSW in 2017 to bring together a range of stakeholders with concerns about the state of carer respite in NSW. The Alliance is made up of peak organisations, service providers and university research centres that either deliver, broker or evaluate carer respite in NSW. Members include:

  • Carers NSW
  • Alzheimer's Australia NSW
  • Mental Health Carers NSW
  • Australian Health Services Research Institute, University of Wollongong
  • Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW
  • Anglicare Sydney
  • Seniors Rights Service
  • UPA North Coast Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre
  • Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) NSW & ACT, auspiced by the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra


4 October 2017: Carer Respite Alliance highlights respite crisis in NSW

Member publications

Alzheimer's Australia (2017) Flexible respite services for people with dementia and their carers: Information for consumers

Alzheimer's Australia (2017) Flexible respite services for people with dementia and their carers: Information for service providers

Bellamy, J., Paleologos, Z., Kemp, B., Carter, S. & King, S. (2014) Caring into Old Age: The wellbeing and support needs of parent carers of people with disabilities

Carers NSW (2017) Give us a break! Evidence that Australian carers still need respite

Carers NSW (2016) National survey of carers' respite needs: Final report

Carers NSW (2016) Carers NSW 2016 Carer Survey: Main report

Cass B., Brennan, D., Thomson, C., Hill, T., Purcal, C., Hamilton, M. & Adamson, E. (2011) Young carers: Social policy impacts of the caring responsibilities of children and young adults

Hamilton, M., Giuntoli, G., Johnson, K. & Fisher, K. (2016) Transitioning Australian Respite

Hill, T., Thomson, C., Raven, M., Wong, M., Cass, B., Yeandle, S. & Buckner, L. (2016) Carers and Social Inclusion

Kemp, B., King, S., Paleologos, Z., Bellamy, J. & Mollenhauer, J. (2016) Carers: Doing it Tough, Doing it Well

Mollenhauer, J., King, S., Bodiam, T. & Bellamy, J. (2013) Caring for a child with an intellectual disability and challenging behaviours


From time to time, Carers NSW runs campaigns highlighting issues or concerns carers have raised with us and trying to create real change for carers. Our campaigns are based on the priorities and needs of carers. 

Every NSW state election year, Carers NSW runs an election campaign ensuring that carers are on the election agenda. Our NSW state election 2015 Don’t Be Careless aimed to urge all candidates to commit to better support for carers by encouraging voters to show their support for a number of key asks. 

Carers NSW sometimes also support campaigns which are run by other organisations that deal with issues concerning carers, such as the campaign for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) run by Every Australian Counts



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