Integrated Plan for Carer Support Services

As part of the 2015-16 Budget, the Australian Government announced the development of an Integrated Plan for Carer Support Services (the Plan). The Plan is being developed to reflect the Australian Government’s priorities for carers, and outlines actions to recognise, support and sustain the vital work of unpaid carers.

Stage one of the Plan, Carer Gateway, commenced in December 2015, and offers a website and phone service to help carers access practical information and resources to help them in their caring role.

The Carer Gateway Advisory Group played an important role in the development of Carer Gateway and in the design of a proposed new integrated carer support service system. The Carer Gateway Advisory Group was co-chaired by Ara Cresswell, CEO, Carers Australia and James Christian, then Group Manager, Department of Social Services. Membership included sector stakeholders and consumer advocates.

A Subject Matter Expert (SME) Working Group was also established to guide design of the Plan. Membership of the SME Working Group was agreed by the Carer Gateway Advisory Group and includes representatives from organisations with experience in carer support, as well as carers themselves. In addition to the SME Working Group, a carer specific group was formed to assist with design of the Plan.

Stage two of the Plan focused on a two year process to design a proposed new carer service system with the carer sector, carers and the public. This process included the development of a draft Service Concept for the delivery of interventions to improve outcomes for carers. The draft Service Concept was open for public consultation in May and June 2016 and the published submissions and Summary Report can be viewed on DSS Engage.

Feedback on the draft Service Concept and further design activities informed the development of a draft Service Delivery Model for an Integrated Carer Support Service, outlining the proposed way support would be delivered to carers in the future.

The draft Service Delivery Model’s focus is to provide services to more carers, with the aim to reach carers earlier in their caring journey in order to sustain them by providing supports that build their capacity, reduce strain, enable increased participation and ultimately improve their wellbeing.

The draft Service Delivery Model was open for public consultation during November and December 2016. There were 85 submissions received from service providers, carers, government agencies and peak bodies and over 900 responses received to the carer survey. The submissions that have been permitted to be made publically available can be viewed on the DSS Engage website.

The Public Consultation on the draft Service Draft Model: Summary Report outlines the key themes raised from the public consultation process.

The third and final stage of the Plan is the implementation of the Integrated Carer Support Service.

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