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.

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.

SCAN’s focus is the recognition, inclusion and support of carers across the service system and within the broader community. Our members have a particular interest in the disability, aged care, health and mental health sectors.

Of particular interest to members are the following focus areas:

  • The impact on carers of sector reform that prioritises individualised funding arrangements
  • Identification and support of carers within the service system
  • Equitable access to appropriate information and support

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 02 9280 4744.

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 Carer Respite Alliance aims to:

  • Draw on existing knowledge about carer respite held by members organisations to identify key issues and solutions
  • Conduct evidence based advocacy to raise awareness about carer respite issues and effect change
  • Work together to increase the knowledge base on carer respite

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
  • Dementia Australia
  • Mental Health Carers NSW
  • Australian Health Services Research Institute, University of Wollongong
  • Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW
  • Anglicare Sydney
  • Seniors Rights Service
  • Hammondcare
  • Partners in Culturally Appropriate Care (PICAC) NSW & ACT, auspiced by the Multicultural Communities Council of Illawarra
  • A carer representative

For more information about the Carer Respite Alliance, please contact the Policy Team at policy@carersnsw.org.au or on 02 9280 4744.

Joint publications

On Tuesday 4 May 2021, the Carer Respite Alliance officially launched its policy paper, Repositioning respite within consumer directed service systems during a live webinar.

Download the paper - high resolution | low resolution

Download the media release

View the launch webinar recording (link coming soon

Member publications

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

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 Australia (2018) Improving access to aged residential respite care (Carers NSW participated in the working group for this project)

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 biennial Carer Surveys: 2016, 2018 and 2020

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

Phillipson, L., Johnson, K., Fielding, E., Cridland, E., Hall, D., Neville, C., Hasan, H. (2020) 'Rethinking respite in Australia: A naturalistic effect study of a multicomponent community program to promote respite knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of carers of people with dementia', Health and Social Care in the Community: Early view

Carer Rights & Complaints Network

The Carer Rights & Complaints Network (CRCN) was established by Carers NSW in partnership with the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) in order to address an identified need for greater awareness among carers, service providers, peak bodies and complaints agencies of carer rights and associated complaints pathways.

The CRCN brings together a range of organisations with knowledge regarding carer rights and complaints with the aim of identifying strategies to increase carers’ knowledge and access in relation to complaints mechanisms and protections for carers embedded in legislation.

In 2020, the work of the CRCN was incorporated into the Action Plan for the new, ten-year NSW Carers Strategy: Caring in NSW 2020-30 under Action 10: Carer rights education.

In addition to Carers NSW and FACS, the CRCN includes representatives from the following organisations and agencies:

  • NSW Fair Trading
  • NSW Ombudsman
  • NSW Health Care Complaints Commission
  • Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW
  • Legal Aid NSW
  • Mental Health Commission of NSW
  • Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People
  • NSW Information and Privacy Commission
  • Commonwealth Ombudsman
  • Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Aged Care Complaints Commissioner

For more information about the CRCN, please contact the Policy Team at policy@carersnsw.org.au or on 02 9280 4744.

View the 'Know your rights' series of fact sheets and webinars developed by the CRCN.


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.