Jun 19, 2023

Have your say on Carer Recognition Act reforms now

An unpaid carer might be a partner, family member, friend or neighbour that is temporarily or permanently caring for someone because of illness, disability, or for an older person with care needs. [Source: Shutterstock]

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:

  • Understanding the value of unpaid care
  • The needs of specific cohorts such as young carers, First Nations carers, LGBTIQ+ carers, or culturally and linguistically diverse carers
  • The meaningful role that flexible workplaces play in unpaid care
  • The Government’s broad agenda in relation to the care and support economy
  • The importance of employment participation, and a strong focus on gender equity and any other related matters

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.

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  1. There needs to be more support and funding for older carers who cannot return to the workforce , because of there own circumstances. Many of us rely on there pension, we have no other income, nor do we have holiday pay,super annuation ,and sick leave. I’ve been caring for my husband ever since I was married 38yrs but last 25 yrs as been hardest and certainly in last 10-12yrs . But the lack of funding for carers , is limiting us to acheived my own goals in life. Please bring back the Medicare , and rebates for exrays and stuff that as come of Medicare .While my husband as the NdIS funding , I can’t get the funding . I have my own health issues . At the end of the day who is looking after the older carers who needs support . Many of us carers are going with out support and care they need . Gateway haven’t been in touch with me all year . I had 4 key people resinged and return to study, but, I’ve had no replacements of those who were my key supports from GATEWAY. THE SYSTEM NEEDS TO CHANGE .

  2. It was easier to get help/ services in the past before the NDIS era for all age groups with disability or terminal illness. It was simple and easy to navigate.
    Now everything is so hard. Red tapes & road blocked everywhere. There should never be NDIS vs My Age Care. There should only be one service provider for all.

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