Queensland’s peak carers organisation is disappointed it has missed out on funding for a new regional network of carer service providers.
The government announced the Regional Partners Network on August 21, saying it would more than double the number of carer services currently available and represents the biggest reform in more than 10 years affecting the nation’s 2.7 million carers.
As well as providing financial assistance, counselling and support to carers, the network will help carers navigate services including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), My Aged Care and palliative care.
Chair Jim Toohey says Carers Queensland welcomes the establishment of the network, but says the organisation is disappointed it was unsuccessful into its tender bid.
“We are disappointed by the announcement that we have been unsuccessful in our tender bid,” Mr Toohey said in a statement.
“As the peak body representing unpaid family carers in Queensland, Carers Queensland has been working to advocate for equal rights, opportunities, and enhanced outcomes for caring families over the past 30 years.
“During this time, we have worked with our local communities, responding to unmet needs with care and respect, delivering a range of specialised carer, aged, and disability support services.”
However the network presented an opportunity for Carers Queensland to better position itself for for future challenges, he said.
“Moving forward, Carers Queensland acknowledges its commitment to working with caring families to improve their quality of life, and there can be no doubt, we will continue to support them during this important time.”
Regional Partners Network
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston says the network will be up and running from April next year, with ten not-for-profit organisations receiving $493 million over five years to establish a new network of 16 Carer Gateway service providers.
The new model will see funding for respite increase from $44 million to $65 million in the first year and hit $77 million after five years.
“From April next year, we are introducing a new service delivery model designed by carers, for carers to help them get the support they need early, before reaching crisis point. We are also providing demand driven funding for carers to access respite when they need it,” Ms Ruston said.
“These services give carers access to a range of supports to help reduce stress, build resilience and cope with daily challenges.
“For example, if a carer is looking to get back into the workforce, they can access a financial support package to go towards their education or training.
“Under previous arrangements, each year we provided support to carers on 130,000 occasions but under the new model this will increase to about 700,000. This is an unprecedented growth in the availability of services for carers.”
The new network will provide access to:
- Support and planning
- Coaching, counselling and peer support and information both in person and over the phone
- Targetted financial support packages
- Emergency crisis support
- Assistance navigating local services
Existing service provider funding will be extended until 31 May to ensure continuity of support to carers during the transition to the new Carer Gateway service providers.
Carers Australia chief executive Ara Cresswell said the network had been designed in consultation with carers and care organisations.
“The new regional network of service providers will play a significant part in delivering necessary supports for Australia’s family and friend carers, providing an increased range of service types and improved access,” she said.
“It promises to deliver a suite of support services on a more geographically equitable basis which will be easier to navigate and less fragmented than has previously been the case.”