Government seeks carers’ views on services

Informal carers are being called upon to complete an online survey to inform strategy to improve support, recognition and health services, and alleviate financial stress and social concerns for carers.

 

Family carers in New South Wales are being urged to complete an online survey to inform the development of the state’s five-year carer strategy.

The NSW Carers Strategy 2014-19 and the online survey focus on employment, education, health and wellbeing, carer information and community awareness, and carer engagement, which are the identified key areas of concern for carers.

The strategy is being developed in collaboration with carers and other government and non-government stakeholders including employers, industry representatives, experts and researchers. Strategy workshops began in November 2013.

NSW Minister for Ageing and Disability Services John Ajaka said the survey was an opportunity for carers to inform how the NSW Government could improve support, recognition and health services for carers, as well as alleviate financial stress and social concerns.

“Many of us will find ourselves either caring for someone or being cared for at some stage in our lives, making the new strategy one of great social importance,” Mr Ajaka said.

There were around 850,000 family members, friends, housemates and neighbours providing ongoing unpaid support to people who needed help with everyday life in NSW, according to Carers NSW, the state peak body representing carers.

Elena Katrakis Carers NSW CEO
Elena Katrakis, CEO of Carers NSW

CEO Elena Katrakis said they were strongly encouraging carers, other family members and friends of carers to complete the survey.

“This is a landmark opportunity to have some direct involvement in work that has the potential to directly impact on the lives of carers,” Ms Katrakis said.

Carers NSW viewed the forthcoming strategy as an important show of commitment by the NSW Government to valuing the critical contribution carers make to the community, Ms Katrakis said.

“Although carers save the NSW taxpayer around $13 billion annually — this is what it would cost to replace the work they do with paid careworkers — they do so often at great personal cost,” she said.

Ms Katrakis said carers as a demographic group experienced lower levels of health and wellbeing than any other population group in Australia and also suffered significant financial impacts as a result of long-term and time-intensive caring responsibilities that also presented barriers to employment.

“One of the exciting aspects of the NSW Carers Strategy is the attempt to ensure that the issues facing carers are seen as problems that the community as a whole has a part in addressing,” Ms Katrakis said.

The NSW strategy, which is due to be launched in mid 2014, follows the NSW Carers Action Plan 2007-2012 and the NSW Carers (Recognition) Act 2010.

Before completing the survey, participants can read the paper Information about the focus areas for public consultation (pdf), for a summary of the issues and proposed ideas in each focus area.

The online consultation is open until 28 February 2014 and can be accessed here: NSW carers survey

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