Additional support for unpaid carers

Australia’s unpaid carers will benefit from new services to help them manage daily challenges, reduce stress and plan for the future.

 

The Federal Government has announced an additional $85.6 million to fund new supports and services for Australia’s unpaid carers.

 

Around 2.7 million Australians care for someone who needs extra help due to disability, age, mental illness, or long-term physical illness.

 

The Government will introduce a range of new tailored services to help carers get the support they need early before they reach crisis point.

 

Evidence shows that early-intervention, prevention and building carers’ skills leads to better longer-term outcomes and improved well-being for carers.

 

This is a shift from the current service delivery model, which is largely crisis-driven, costly and reactive.

 

Carers Australia Chief Executive Officer Ara Cresswell said, “For some years now Carers Australia and other carer service providers have been working with the Department of Social Services to design a more integrated and nationally consistent model of delivering services to Australia’s 2.8 million family and friend carers.”

 

The new early-intervention service model will be rolled out in two stages.

 

Ms Cresswell said “However, we have made it very clear that we don’t want the implementation of the new model to be rushed and that there needs to be proper transition arrangements so that existing services don’t suddenly disappear through the lack of transitional funding certainty, leaving significant gaps in support for carers while the new model gets up to speed.

 

From October 2018, carers will be able to access new supports and services through the Government’s Carer Gateway website including peer support, counselling, coaching and educational resources.

 

From September 2019, the Government will establish a network of Regional Delivery Partners to help carers access a range of local services such as needs assessments, targeted financial support, information and advice, tailored counselling and coaching, and crisis support where required.

 

Carers can continue to access support through their usual service providers until the commencement of the Regional Delivery Partners from September 2019.

 

To provide the additional funding for these new measures, the Government will introduce a $250,000 family income test threshold to the Carer Allowance payment of $127.10 per fortnight, aligning it with other welfare payments.

 

Around 99 per cent of Carer Allowance recipients will have no change to their payment under this new scheme.

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6 March 2018. Updated 26 March 2018.