Minister sends info on new carer services to all carers

Minister for Families and Social Services, Paul Fletcher, has outlined changes to carer services to be introduced later this year.

In a letter to all registered carers, he detailed the Australian Government’s $569 million investment in new supports and services available through Carer Gateway. The funding includes an additional $106 million on top of current funding over the next four years.

From July this year, online educational resources, peer support and coaching services will be available as well as a new phone-based counselling service.

From September 2019, carers will be able to access carer-specific supports and services through a new network of Carer Gateway service providers, which will work with carers to plan and access tailored and flexible services.

Minister Fletcher reassured carers that they can continue to access their current supports and services, and will be advised about the new services as they roll out.

What is changing?

The Australian Government is rolling out a range of new early-intervention services and support for carers in 2019 to help reduce their stress, improve their wellbeing and provide the support they need.

These new services have been designed based on evidence that shows the best way to help carers is to assist them early in their caring role, increase their skills and reduce the strain of caring.

What are the new supports and services?

The first stage will be available from July 2019 and includes online services covering:

  • Peer support to assist you to connect with and learn from other carers. This online community forum will help carers share their stories, knowledge and experience with others.
  • Self-guided coaching to support and teach you skills useful to your caring situation. The coaching modules will cover a range of topics and can be completed at your own pace online.
  • A new phone-based counselling service to provide short term emotional and psychological support.
  • Practical skills courses to improve your general skills and knowledge are being gradually rolled out. You can explore the first two modules, Dealing with stress, and Effective communication techniques now on www.carergateway.gov.au

These new services are currently being designed and tested, and will be available from July 2019 through Carer Gateway, either by visiting the website (www.carergateway.gov.au) or calling 1800 422 737.

From September 2019, carers will be able to access support and services through a new national network of Carer Gateway service providers. They will help carers access new and improved local services that will include:

  • Carer support planning – to help you identify what areas of support will best help you in your caring role and to develop a simple plan for ongoing support and service.
  • Tailored financial packages – to give carers practical assistance. The packages will be arranged by your service providers and might be a:
    • one-off practical support in the form of equipment or item to assist in your caring role
    • range of ongoing practical supports, such as respite or transport, provided over a twelve-month period.
  • In-person counselling – for one-on-one support with a professional counsellor if you feel stressed or overwhelmed.
  • In-person peer support – where you can meet with people in similar caring situations and share your stories, knowledge and experience.
  • In-person coaching – where you can work one-on-one with a qualified coach to gain skills and resilience to help you as a carer. You can reflect on how you are going, how you would like things to be, and how you might take steps towards making things happen.
  • Emergency respite care – to make sure the person you care for will be looked after if an urgent or unplanned event stops you from being there.

What do you need to do now?

You do not need to do anything now.

When the new online services start from July 2019 you are encouraged to access these services through the Carer Gateway website: www.carergateway.gov.au

What about current services?

These changes to carer services do not affect any state or territory services that carers may be receiving, young carer bursaries or other services delivered through My Aged Care or the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Carers can continue to access existing services funded by the Department of Social Services (such as counselling, information and advice, and emergency respite) through their usual service providers until the new Carer Gateway service providers commence from September 2019.

Why are these services changing?

The Australian Government has undertaken significant research and engaged with stakeholders over a two-year period to re-design services that better suit carers’ needs.

More information

For more information or advice on the supports and services available please visit www.carergateway.gov.au or call 1800 422 737 Monday to Friday between 8am and 6pm.