Unprecedented support for Australia’s carers

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Morrison Government is introducing the single biggest reform in more than a decade to better support Australia’s 2.7 million carers.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston today announced a new regional network of service providers to deliver more than five times the number of services currently available.

Ten not-for-profit organisations will receive about $493 million over five years to establish a new network of 16 Carer Gateway service providers as part of the Morrison Government’s record commitment of nearly $700 million to support the important work of the nation’s unpaid carers.

“From April next year, we are introducing a new service delivery model designed by carers, for carers to help them get the support they need early, before reaching crisis point. We are also providing demand driven funding for carers to access respite when they need it,” Minister Ruston said.

Under the new model, funding earmarked for respite will increase from the existing $44 million allocation to $65 million in the first year, increasing to $77 million in year five.

Carers Australia chief executive Ara Cresswell welcomed the announcement, which she said had been designed in consultation with carers and carer organisations.

“The new regional network of service providers will play a significant part in delivering necessary supports for Australia’s family and friend carers, providing an increased range of service types and improved access,” Ms Cresswell said.

“It promises to deliver a suite of support services on a more geographically equitable basis which will be easier to navigate and less fragmented than has previously been the case.”

On 1 July 2019, new early-intervention supports were launched on the national carer hub, Carer Gateway. Carers now have access to new free phone counselling, self-guided coaching and online skills courses.

The new service providers will have shopfronts, service outlets and a mobile workforce to achieve service coverage across urban, regional and rural Australia.

From April 2020, the new Australia-wide network of regional Carer Gateway service providers will give carers access to:

  • carer support and planning
  • in-person and phone-based coaching, counselling and in person peer   support
  • information and advice
  • targeted financial support packages with a focus on employment, education, respite and transport
  • access to emergency crisis support
  • assistance with navigating relevant, local services available to carers through federal, state and local government and non-government providers, including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), My Aged Care and palliative care.

“These services give carers access to a range of supports to help reduce stress, build resilience and cope with daily challenges,” Minister Ruston said.

“For example, if a carer is looking to get back into the workforce, they can access a financial support package to go towards their education or training.

“Under previous arrangements, each year we provided support to carers on 130,000 occasions but under the new model this will increase to about 700,000. This is an unprecedented growth in the availability of services for carers.”

Carers can continue to access support through their usual service providers until the new Carer Gateway service providers are established in April 2020.

Existing service provider funding will be extended until 31 May 2020 to ensure continuity of support to carers during the important transition to the new Carer Gateway service providers.