The NSW Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 (the Act) was introduced to provide recognition of carers and to establish a Carers Advisory Council. The Act requires that:
The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) is responsible for leading the implementation of the Act across all public sector agencies. The NSW Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 Implementation Plan 2011 – 2014 provides a clear understanding of the obligations of public sector and human service agencies under this Act.
The Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 was reviewed by the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) on behalf of the Minister for Disability Services. The review was a requirement of the Act.
As part of the review, FACS 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 Minister also met with carers to hear their feedback and experiences. The discussion paper that guided the review process is available here: Discussion Paper – Review of the Carers (Recognition) Act 2010
A 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 contains ten recommendations, including three recommendations that require minor legislative changes. You can read the full review report here.
The NSW Carers Charter contains 13 principles that provide guidance on issues of significance for carers, including respect and recognition, inclusion in decision making, and access to services they may need. Human service agencies in the NSW public sector are required to reflect the principles of the Carers Charter and, therefore, must consider how to incorporate the support and recognition of carers who are clients into their core business. This will assist in promoting the social inclusion of carers in NSW.
The Charter can be found at Schedule 1 of the Act.
The review recommends that the charter be amended to more clearly communicate principles and acknowledge carers and partners in care.
The Act establishes a NSW Carers Advisory Council to promote the interests of carers. The Council also reviews and makes recommendations to the Minister for Disability Services and Minister for Ageing on relevant issues. You can read more about the Council and its members here.
The review of the Act recommends that the chairing arrangements of the Council be modified, to allow for the Minister to appoint a chair and deputy chair, instead of the Minister being the chair, which is currently the situation. This will enable the Council to continue it’s valuable role, providing advice to the Minister. The majority of Council members will continue to be carers.
Carers working in the public sector will benefit from human resources policies that have either been developed following consideration of the Carers Charter or already reflect the Charter's principles. In this way, human resource policies will meet the needs of carers. You might want to become familiar with flexible work policies to help you in your caring role, including leave entitlements and flex time. Once you know the options, talk to your manager about working together to implement appropriate support to help you combine caring and work.
Dr Karen Crawley is a GP, carer and 2015 Highly Commended NSW Carers Award recipient. She talks about juggling work and caring responsibilities
The Act defines public sector agencies and requires them to:
If you require further information about the Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 or would like to order hard copies of the brochure or either poster, please email NSWCarersAct@facs.nsw.gov.au.
The following resources have been developed to help NSW Government agencies to implement the Act. Please note that following the statutory review, these resources will be reviewed and updated