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Department of Premier and Cabinet


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Working together

Many unpaid carers are caring within a service framework such as disability support services and aged care. However, much of the informal caring happens in the community and is underpinned by informal support networks. While it is important that the formal or organisational care system responds to the needs of carers and those they care for, it is equally important to build and maintain communities and informal networks of care that are also responsive as well as resilient and sustainable. When both the formal and informal systems recognise the role carers have and their value to the community, they can help carers under stress, provide support early before vulnerability leads to isolation or loss of support, help carers to find balance in their lives, and be resilient against crisis situations.

While the State Government has a role to play in providing support to carers, the Australian Government provides all carer payments and allowances, and either directly delivers or funds the delivery of a wide range of carer support services. The community sector also supports carers through services and advocacy.

Department of Social Services

The Australian Government’s Department of Social Services (DSS) works to improve the independence and participation of carers in community and economic life by providing targeted supports and services for people with disability and carers. Almost 2.7 million Australians care for someone with disability, a medical condition, mental illness or someone who is frail due to age. The Australian Government helps carers to be engaged in the community, participate in the workforce and stay healthy while continuing their caring role.

A new Integrated Plan for Carer Support Services is being developed to better recognise, support and sustain the vital work of unpaid carers. The first stage of this plan was the establishment of Carer Gateway, a new national website and phone service to help carers access information and support.

DSS offers a number of programs specifically for carers including:

  • respite and information services for young carers up to 25 years of age;
  • immediate and short term respite for carers of young people with a severe or profound disability;
  • flexible respite and support options for carers of people with severe mental illness/psychiatric disability and carers of people with an intellectual disability; and
  • specialist information, advice and assistance for carers.

A number of DSS programs will transition to the NDIS as it rolls out across Australia.

Department of Health

The Australian Government’s Department of Health has a diverse set of responsibilities, but throughout there is a common purpose, which is reflected in the Department’s vision statement: Better health and wellbeing for all Australians, now and for future generations.

The Department aims to achieve this vision through strengthening evidence based policy advice, improving program management, research, regulation and partnerships with other government departments, consumers and stakeholders.

The Department provides information, tools and resources to support the aged care sector through evidence-based policy, well targeted programs, and best practice regulation.

It manages My Aged Care (www., which is the main entry point to the aged care system in Australia. My Aged Care aims to make it easier for older people, their families and carers to access information on ageing and aged care, have their needs assessed and be supported to find and access services.

Carers Tasmania

Carers Tasmania is dedicated to improving the quality of life of the estimated 84,000 family carers living in Tasmania.

Carers Tasmania provides a statewide service to carers in Tasmania through a freecall information and advisory telephone line, as well as counselling services, therapeutic groups and education and training to assist carers in their caring role.

As part of a national network of Carer Associations, Carers Tasmania works to raise awareness and understanding of carer needs and issues with both decision makers and the general public – with carers being at the forefront of everything they do.

Mental Health Carers Tasmania

MHCTas promotes and improves the wellbeing of carers of people affected by mental ill health by providing support, advocacy and education.

MHCTas provides systemic advocacy from a carer/family perspective drawing upon lived experience and champions the needs and aspirations of mental health carers.

MHCTas provides input into state and national research, policy review and development with the aim of improving mental health services and the well-being of carers. MHCTas represents the views and experience of mental health carers to state mental health services, including at the policy level.

MHCTas also provides links to organisations which provide support and services for carers of people affected by mental ill health: advocacy, counselling, clinical care, education and training, outreach service, peer support, suicide bereavement, recreational programs, and residential care and respite.

National Disability Insurance Agency

The NDIS is ensuring that people with disability are given every opportunity to make their own decisions and exercise choice and control.

The NDIA recognises that the role of families and carers is often essential in supporting people with disability to realise their goals and is including them in discussions about supports.

The NDIS is providing information, referral and linkage to ensure families and carers are able to access supports in the community to assist them in their role.

Families and carers are partners in the support for people with disability and provide help and support that cannot be provided by formal services or paid support workers. One of the core aims of the NDIS is to better support families and carers in their caring role.

Next: Consultation summary