2020 Young Carer Policy Forum

Join us on Tuesday 24 March to discuss the important issues affecting young carers!

To be held at the National Press Club, the 2020 Young Carer Policy Forum will bring together academics, young carers and their advocates, service providers, and public policy makers to explore the needs of young carers and the current gaps in the support they need.

Carers Australia will be launching new, in-depth findings on young carers’ experience in secondary and tertiary education. The forum will also explore the current definition of young carers and look more broadly at the nature of the supports needed beyond those currently available.

The one-day event will enable researchers, service providers and policy makers to deliver innovative research, recommendations, and strategies applicable to policy and sector work.

There will be a full program of keynote speakers, panels, and networking opportunities.


Tune Review on the delivery of the NDIS sets clear directions for reform

Carers Australia has welcomed this month’s release of the independent review conducted by David Tune into NDIS practices and procedures.

“While many of the problems and proposed solutions canvassed in the report have been well-known for some time, this document provides clear directions for what is needed to address many issues in the delivery of the NDIS and to fulfil its original promise,” said Mary Reid, Interim CEO of Carers Australia.

In addition to recommendations to streamline processes, clarify language and provide participants and those who care for them greater plan flexibility, the long-standing issues with family-centred approaches to providing supports have been addressed.

“Very importantly, the need to provide respite to allow family members to take a decent, clean break from the intensive and often unremitting provision of care has also been recognised, and it is recommended that the NDIS rules be amended to make this clear,” said Ms Reid.


Research into support for older people reveals that Australia falls short of comparable countries

A new review has found Australia is lagging behind other countries when it comes to providing support for older people.

The Flinders University Review of International Systems for Long-term Care of Older People, commissioned by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, also found the level of support offered to unpaid carers fell short of other countries.

“Compared to a number of European countries, and even to the USA on some counts, Australia’s performance is at best lacklustre against a number of indicators,” said Mary Reid, Interim CEO of Carers Australia.

“Under the Fair Work Act, 10 days Carers Leave is available to employees who have worked for an employer for over a year. But these 10 days are taken out of the Personal Leave entitlement available to all employees, including their own sick leave. In many nations … extended leave is available to carers for much longer periods of time without endangering their job.”


Young carer profile

This month we’re continuing our series of profiling young carers with 23-year-old Kaylah from Tasmania.

Kaylah cares for her brother, who has epilepsy, and her mother, who has mobility issues, chronic emphysema and has recently returned home after a six-month hospital stay. Kaylah juggles her caring responsibilities with studying part time and preparing to return to work as an early childhood educator once her mother’s health improves.

Kaylah said that being a young carer has changed her life because she has developed an understanding of how much family means to her and how precious life is.

“My advice to my fellow young carers is to look after themselves,” said Kaylah. “Don’t burn yourselves out. You’re no good to anyone if you are not well mentally and physically.”

You can read more young carer stories by visiting Carers Australia’s Young Carers Network.


Productivity Commission draft report into mental health

The Productivity Commission has released a draft report on changes which need to be made in support of people with mental health issues and their carers.

Carers Australia is very pleased that many of our recommendations in relation to this Inquiry have been incorporated into the draft report. These include revising eligibility requirements for the Carer Payment and Carer Allowance. It is currently very difficult for mental health carers to qualify for these payments because there is a strong emphasis on continuous care and on the provision of physical care.

A 2016 University of Queensland survey of mental health carers identified the amount of time devoted to different types of caring tasks; emotional support constituted 68 percent of caring tasks, with practical support and daily living activities constituting 29 percent and 3 percent respectively. 

The episodic nature of care is also a barrier to accessing these payments.  The Productivity Commission has recommended the ‘25-hour rule’, which restricts carers on the Carer Payment from engaging in employment, volunteering or education for more than 25 hours per week, should be changed to 100 hours per month and that there should be no restrictions on education.

Better assistance for current and former carers to access employment is also recommended.

The Commission’s final report will be released at the end of May. It will then be a matter of which recommendations the Australian Government accepts.


Healthcare pathway survey

Do you attend medical appointments with the person you care for?

The Community and Patience Preference Research in partnership with Carers Australia, Creaky Joints Australia, Psoriasis Australia and Janssen Australia and New Zealand want to hear about how satisfied you are with the healthcare journey of the person you care for.

By taking part in the survey, you’ll be helping researchers understand what matters most to patients and carers in their healthcare and what areas need improvement.


Be Connected program

A program aimed at empowering older Australians to use technology will be extended for an additional 12 months after an announcement of further funding from the Federal government.

Delivered by the eSafety Commissioner and the Department of Social Services, Be Connected provides training to Australians aged over 50 years who need support to participate online.

It offers free courses on a range of topics including how to access the internet, using devices and keeping in touch with others online. Be Connected is facilitated by a nationwide network of community organisations who are able to provide face-to-face training and support.

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