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.
This is a shift from the current service delivery model, which is largely crisis-driven, costly and reactive.
Whether you know it or not, all Australians are only a few degrees of separation from a carer. If they are not already themselves caring for a family member or friend. During their lifetime, every Australian has a high chance of either being a carer, knowing a carer or needing a carer.
“I started caring for my son over 21 years ago and in that time the demand for unpaid care has grown considerably, especially with the ageing of the population. This demand is set to continue to increase and community attitudes towards carers must grow alongside."
“Services and supports provided to carers by Federal and State Governments have improved, but more is still needed.” Helen Johnson - Unpaid Carer, Victoria.
The newly funded and tailored supports and services aim to help the nation’s 2.7 million carers and reduce their emotional or physical strain, assist them to stay in work or study, take breaks from caring responsibilities and help plan for the future, and to get that much needed support early before they reach crisis point.
The second stage will be rolled out in September 2019 and will see the government 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.
The government has provided assurance that the “generous threshold” for income-testing the Carer Allowance with still mean 99 percent of recipients will have no change to their payment under the new scheme.
Carers Australia Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ara Cresswell explains “While not all carers need special support services in their own right to meet the challenges they face in their caring role, a great many do.
“Over one third of carers who are the main source of support to one or more people with disability, chronic or terminal illness, mental health challenges or who are frail aged, provide 40 hours or more of care a week and a third of such carers also have a disability of some kind themselves.
“The new integrated carer support services model announced today will extend the range and accessibility of carer supports and address some of the fragmentation of existing services, which have been a by-product of accumulated historical changes to programs and of aged care reform and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.”
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.
- Supporting Carers https://www.dss.gov.au/disability-and-carers/carers
- Australian Government announces additional funding for carer services https://www.carergateway.gov.au/
The new early-intervention service model is set to be rolled out in two stages over the next 18 months.
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