Media Release by The Hon Paul Fletcher MP

Improved services for Australian carers

The Australian Government will fund three community organisations to design and deliver new online services to ensure carers get the help they need before reaching crisis point.

Wellways Australia Limited, CatholicCare Sydney Limited and Carers Australia will receive $16.3 million over three years to develop a range of new carer services.

“Every day in Australia, 2.7 million carers provide support to a family member, loved one, friend or neighbour who needs help to go about their everyday lives,” Minister for Families and Social Services Paul Fletcher said.

“Evidence tells us that getting help early can make a big difference to a carer’s life and help to reduce emotional or physical strain experienced throughout their caring journey.

“These new services represent the first phase of a major overhaul of carers’ services following a two-year consultation to understand the nature of caring and the needs within the community.”

Wellways Australia Limited, a leading not-for-profit mental health and disability support organisation, will deliver a new online coaching service to help carers manage their daily challenges and build their capacity and skills.

“Wellways have delivered educational programs for families, friends and carers for over 20 years, in over 85 sites across Australia,” Wellways Australia CEO Elizabeth Crowther said.

“Our self-guided coaching modules will be designed collaboratively with carers and feature leading-edge digital functionality.”

Sydney-based welfare organisation CatholicCare Sydney Limited will roll out a new phone and digital based counselling program and online peer support forum for carers.

“CatholicCare has a long and successful history of delivering digital counselling to a vulnerable cohort of clients,” CatholicCare Sydney Limited CEO Mark Phillips said.

“We look forward to building on our experience operating Parent Line NSW, which has supported parents and carers in NSW for over 24 years.”

In addition to coaching and counselling services, a range of new practical educational resources to improve carer wellbeing will be developed by carers’ representative body, Carers Australia.

“Building carers’ skills and knowledge relating to their caring situation is critical to reducing strain and helping carers more confidently participate in family, social and community life, employment and education,” Carers Australia CEO Ara Cresswell said.

The three community organisations will extensively test the new services with carers from October this year prior to the full roll out through Carer Gateway, the Government’s national website for carers.

Carers can find out about current services and supports by visiting the Carer Gateway website or by phoning 1800 422 737 between 8am-6pm on weekdays.