Carers and families are important and are recognised by Australian governments
In recent years carers and their contribution have been increasingly recognised by Australian Governments as seen with the Australian Carer Recognition Act 2010 and the ACT Carers Recognition Bill 2021 (currently in committee).
These documents define a carer as a person who provides unpaid personal care, support and assistance to another person who needs it due to disability, ageing, ongoing physical or mental illness, or substance misuse etc. Carers may be partners or significant others as well as parents, siblings, children, other family members and kinship networks.
The Carers Recognition Bill 2021 sets out the following Care Relationship Principles regarding the treatment of carers in the ACT.
A carer should—
(a) be respected and recognised as—
i. an individual with their own needs; and
ii. a carer; and
iii. someone with knowledge of the person receiving care; and
(b) be supported as an individual and as a carer, including during changes to the care relationship; and
(c) be recognised for their efforts and dedication, and for the social and economic contribution they make to the community, as a carer; and
(d) if appropriate, have their views and cultural identity taken into account, together with the views, cultural identity, needs and interests of the person receiving care, in matters relating to the care relationship; and
(e) have their social wellbeing and health recognised in matters relating to the care relationship; and
(f) have the effect of their role as a carer on their participation in employment and education recognised and considered in decision-making; and
(g) be provided with support that is timely, responsive, appropriate, respectful and accessible; and
(h) if the carer is receiving support services from a care and carer support agency in relation to the care relationship—
i. be made aware of the care relationship principles by the care and carer support agency; and
ii. have their views considered in the assessment, planning, delivery, management and review of support services, programs or policies relating to the carer and the care relationship; and
(i) if the carer is a child or young person—
i. be supported to reach their full potential; and
ii. be provided with appropriate support services that take into account the specific needs of children and young people; and
(j) if the carer is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person—be provided with culturally appropriate support services that take into account the history, health and wellbeing of the person and the person’s extended family and community; and
(k) if the carer is an LGBTIQ+ person—be provided with appropriate support services that take into account the specific and unique needs of LGBTIQ+ people; and
(l) if the carer is culturally and linguistically diverse—be provided with appropriate support services that take into account the specific and unique needs of culturally and linguistically diverse people; and
(m) if the carer is a person with disability—be provided with appropriate support services that take into account the specific and unique needs of people with disability.
Ask Cam, the Carer Navigator
What is the ACT Carers Recognition Act 2021?
The Carers Recognition Act 2021 (the Act) is an act specific to the ACT, which recognises and promotes the role carers have in our community. The Act outlines principles that require organisations to consider and adapt practices to support the care relationship that exists between carers and the people they care for.
How does the Act Recognise, Promote and Value Carers?
The Act is a set of principles that will support people in care relationships. Carer and care support agencies will be required to comply and report on these principles. The Care Relationship Principles consider the treatment of carers, the treatment of people being cared for and the treatment of people in a care relationship.
Why is this Act needed?
Because the work of carers can be unrecognised, carers often do not receive the support they need. This Act will provide better recognition of carers and their needs and will improve support to carers. This will in turn improve the health and wellbeing of carers in our community.
Who will this Act apply to?
The Act will apply to unpaid carers. It will not apply to people in paid work, like nurses or support workers.
What will organisations be required to do under the Act?
Under the Act, care and carer support agencies will promote and uphold the principles of the Act, consult with carers when updating policies and procedures and consider the care relationships within their own organisations.
Care and carer support agencies will need to report on their compliance with their obligations under the Act.