The Review of the Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 and recommendations
The Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 was reviewed by the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS, now known as Department of Communities and Justice) on behalf of the Minister for Disability Services in 2016. The review was a requirement of the Act.
FACS (Now DCJ) led a range of public consultations to engage carers and other key stakeholders in the review process. Consultation methods included an online survey, discussion paper, written submissions, carer forums and a public sector forum. Over 800 individuals and 50 organisations participated in the consultation process.
The final report on the outcome of the review was tabled in Parliament on 8 November 2016. The review concluded that overall the objects of the Act remain valid and that the terms for meeting those objectives are appropriate.
The final report contained ten recommendations, including three recommendations that required minor legislative changes to provisions dealing with the membership and chairing arrangements of the NSW Carers Advisory Council, consultation with carers by public sector agencies in the development of polices that impact on carers and the Carers Charter. The Act was amended on 1 June 2017 to implement these recommendations.
The remaining seven recommendations focus on reviewing and updating guidelines, policy and education to support an increased understanding and implementation of the Act. DCJ is leading implementation of the recommendations and will update this page as it progresses.
That DCJ facilitates access for carers to information about protections for carers embedded in other specific legislation, and about existing complaints mechanisms carers can access.
That DCJ makes arrangements with human service agencies to collate and publish their reports on compliance with the Act (as included in their annual reports). FACS will then provide an annual collated report to the Minister.
That DCJ revises the existing NSW Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 Implementation Guidelines for Public Sector Agencies to provide explanation and clarification on section 5, the meaning of 'carer' under the Act, including:
- clarifying who is considered a carer under the Act. For example, confirming that carers of the following groups are covered by the definition- people with dementia and people affected by drug and alcohol issues
- clarifying that section 5(3) needs to be read in context with all of section 5 (meaning of 'carer') and is not intended to exclude family members or people who live with the person they are caring for
- providing information about cultural concepts of caring
That the NSW Carers Charter (Schedule 1 of the Act) be amended to:
- update and modernise the language used to reflect current social context
- highlight the importance of considering carers' cultural and linguistic diversity, including Aboriginal culture, in policy, programs and service delivery; Report of the statutory review of the Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 23
- acknowledge the needs of carers who work to balance their work commitments and their caring role
- combine principles (g) and (h) to clarify and strengthen the Charter's principle about young carers
- include the wording 'partners in care' in the current principle (m)
- consolidate and reorder the principles to aid clarity and logical flow
That DCJ develops promotional material about the revised NSW Carers Charter to aid its promotion and visibility.
That DCJ profiles examples of good practice and commitment by agencies implementing the NSW Carers Charter.
That the obligations of public sector agencies to consult in section 7(2) be amended to state 'carers and/or bodies representing carers'.
That DCJ revises supporting guidelines and materials to confirm the extent of obligations of public sector and human service agencies and clarify which organisations need to meet the obligations.
That DCJ undertakes to extend compliance with the NSW Carers Charter to relevant DCJ funded service providers through future funding arrangements.
That section 11 be amended to:
- permit the Minister to appoint an independent Chair and deputy Chair for a fixed term and to remove the Minister from being a member of the Council
- remove the word 'primary' from section 11 (2). Report of the statutory review of the Carers (Recognition) Act 2010.