It was a weekend of big announcements in the carer space with changes to the Carer Payment and the announcement of 16 members to the National Carer Strategy Advisory Committee.

The Government announced changes to the current Carer Payment, breaking down existing barriers to employment for Australia’s 2.65 million unpaid carers.

Under the proposed changes, carers will have greater flexibility with Carer Payment recipients being able to work 100 hours over a four-week period rather than the current 25-hour per week limit. In addition to this, education, volunteering and travel time will no longer be counted towards the participation limit, meaning carers will be able to better balance their caring roles.

Rachael Lovelock, Director of Carer Gateway Services welcomes the changes saying, “these changes will go a long way to supporting carers to better manage their work and caring commitments. The removal of travel time from the limit will particularly help those carers in remote and rural communities, where a lot of our carers reside”.

The Government says it will legislate the changes, which have been estimated to cost $18.6 million over five years.

National Carer Strategy Advisory Committee Announced

Also on Saturday, Minister for Social Services, the Hon Amanda Rishworth MP appointed 16 members to the National Carer Strategy Advisory Committee.

Committee members include carers, advocates and sector leaders, who will draw from their personal and professional experience to support the development, finalisation and implementation stages of the National Carer Strategy.

The strategy is a significant milestone which will recognise the immense contribution of Australia’s unpaid carers to the community and provide a framework for coordination of carer policy across Commonwealth portfolios including aged care, disability, veterans’ affairs and mental health.

Rachael Lovelock says, This strategy will be instrumental to the future of carer support across Australia and it’s wonderful to see a mix of carers, service providers and advocacy agencies included in its development. We are also thrilled to see our consortia partner Little Dreamers CEO, Madeleine Buchner OAM included. Maddy is an inspirational leader in the young carer space and will make a great addition to the committee.”

The Commonwealth plan to have a draft of the strategy out by the end of the year.

Find out more about Wellways Carer Gateway.