Carers Australia welcomes the announcement of a new Expert Advisory Group which is to guide the co-design of the National Carer Gateway announced in the Federal Budget.

The Expert Advisory Group is to report to Minister Fifield, Assistant Minister for Social Services.

“Carers Australia hopes that the Carer Gateway will be a significant development for Australia’s 2.7 million family and friend carers of people with disabilities, chronic illness, mental conditions, and the aged,” said Ara Cresswell, CEO of Carers Australia and Co-Chair of the Expert Advisory Group.

“Not only can it provide an initial point of contact for information and referral to a diverse range of supports which can assist carers, but it is hoped that it will attract the attention of people who do not identify as ‘carers’ and are not aware that assistance is available to help them to cope with the downsides of caring.  While carers tell us that they are proud of their role, a great many are chronically tired, stressed, socially isolated, and financially challenged.

“Although the website and call centre will not be able to provide the specialist and integrated support required to meet the diversity of most carers’ needs, it will provide an initial point of information and referral.

“Very significantly, the Gateway is an acknowledgement that carers need and can have access to supports in their own right, not just as a by-product of select services offered to those they care for.

“Carers often have immense difficulty navigating the different paths to their supports and entitlements through the aged care, disability care, social security, health and legal systems – many of which they must deal with simultaneously.  A well designed Gateway would be able to guide them to specialist advisory services and service providers who can help them to find and consolidate their way through the maze.”