A new report commissioned by Carers Australia has confirmed that the estimated annual replacement value of all unpaid care in Australia has risen to $77.9 billion – an increase of 29% since similar research was last conducted in 2015.

Produced by Deloittes Access Economics, The value of informal care in 2020 has projected that were the Government to pay for all of the informal care provided by Australia’s unpaid family and friend carers, the bill would come in at just under $1.5 billion per week.

‘These new figures are staggering,’ said Carers Australia CEO, Liz Callaghan. ‘We know that unpaid carers in Australia go above and beyond to care for family members and friends in need, but to see such a huge dollar figure put on these caring roles really helps to bring their vital contribution to the community into perspective.’

Deloitte Access Economics estimated that family and friends carers in Australia will provide 2.2 billion hours of unpaid care in 2020, with primary carers spending an average of over 35-hours a week in their caring role. However, this analysis was undertaken before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. With the imposition of social isolation and the loss of some paid care services over this period, Australia’s carers are putting in more hours than ever.

‘We know that carers have been doing it particularly tough during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this important research helps to confirm the huge value of the caring role and our unpaid carers to the community,’ said Ms Callaghan.

The release of this report coincides with further research undertaken by Carers NSW on behalf of the state and territory Carers Associations, comprising a summary of key findings from a literature review into the impacts of COVID-19 on unpaid carers. The summary outlines many of the needs arising from the reported increase in the amount and intensity of unpaid care being provided during the pandemic, and provides recommendations for governments and communities to help reduce critical levels of carer stress.