The Government wants to hear from Australia’s 2.65 million unpaid carers in order to reshape the Carer Recognition Act for the first time.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has launched an Inquiry into the recognition of unpaid carers after Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, referred the issue for Inquiry earlier this month in hopes legislative changes will provide a better-coordinated carer policy.
The Inquiry aims to increase recognition and awareness of the role carers play in providing daily care and support to people with disability, medical conditions, mental illnesses or who are frail due to age.
“A whole of Government approach is needed to ensure carers are recognised across all of our services and are not falling through the cracks or missing out on access to the vital services they may need, whether that is respite, peer support, counselling or other support services.”
The Carer Recognition Act has not been reviewed since its introduction in 2010 despite calls from the sector for the Government to review and strengthen the Act over the past few years.
The Inquiry will investigate how to better identify the role of unpaid carers in Australian society and the role of a reformed Act with regard to:
The Government noted that the payments for carers are out of the scope of this specific investigation.
Alison Brook, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of Carers Australia welcomed the news of the Inquiry after years of lobbying for one.
“This is a critical step to ensure there are robust legislative and policy frameworks to better address and recognise the diversity and uniqueness of carers, caring relationships and people receiving care in a country that has gone through significant social changes since the introduction of the Act in 2010,” she explained.
Minister Rishworth encouraged carers to have their say in the Inquiry over the next two months.
The Committee is seeking submissions from individual carers, advocates and representative organisations until Friday, August 11.
For further information and to make a submission, visit the official Inquiry website.