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: Caring in NSW 2020-2030

The NSW Carers Strategy: Caring in NSW 2020-2030 is a ten year, whole of government plan co-designed with carers that aims to improve the recognition and support of carers in NSW.  Priorities of the Strategy, as identified by carers include:

1.     Carers have better access to information, services and supports

2.     Carers will be recognised, respected and empowered

3.     Carers have improved financial wellbeing and economic opportunities

4.     Carers have better health and wellbeing

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

Find out more about the NSW Carers (Recognition) Act 2010.

Australian Government initiatives

Carer Gateway

From 6 April 2020, a range of new in-person supports became available under Carer Gateway, adding to the online and phone based supports already available. While face to face delivery of some supports has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Carer Gateway model includes face to face, online and phone delivery of a range of supports for carers, including:

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

Carer Gateway provides support through a network of regional Carer Gateway Service Providers. Carers NSW is the Carer Gateway Service Provider in the Hunter New England, Central Coast and North Coast areas of New South Wales. Carers NSW also continues to provide a range of other statewide projects and programs outside of Carer Gateway as the peak non-government organisation for 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.