The Federal Election for Australia is on Saturday, 21 May 2022. In preparation for the Federal Election, Carers Australia released our Election Platform on 28 January 2022.
The Federal Election Platform draws attention to the 2009 Who Cares…?: Report on the inquiry into Better Support for Carers by the House of Representatives Committee, highlighting that 13 years later carers are still not recognised or embedded within reform.
It is time for carers to enter the centre of policy consideration. Carers as partners and contributors to care is one of the last unexamined areas of health and social policy. It is our hope the Australian Government too, recognises and values carers through funding of the four Election asks outlined below.
We have sent the major parties an Election Survey (responses below) and will be publishing the responses soon to help carers and the broader Australian community understand what each party would do to recognise carers and their vital contribution before 21 May.
Our members within the National Carer Network, the state and territory organisations that deliver a range of essential carer-focused services across Australia, are busy advocating at the local level.
We are seeking a coherent and flexible approach to address the barriers and long-term impacts on carers’ financial and economic security as they maintain and thrive in their caring roles.
That the Government asks the Productivity Commission to undertake a broad review of economic and financial support for carers, including:
- Model the costs and benefits of providing retirement solutions such as a superannuation guarantee or carer pension credits to people who have had reduced employment opportunities to provide continuous care and rely on the Carer Payment.
- Review the Carer Payment and Carer Allowance and recommend ways to incentivise carers to participate in the workforce, education and training, without affecting carers who cannot work.
- Conduct a cost of caring and living analysis of carers to examine implications for short-term and long-term financial security and economic outcomes across caring roles, with a particular focus on women, single carers and young carers.
Equitable access to respite is essential for all carers in order to ensure the sustainability and longevity of the carer relationship, regardless of location, type of caring or circumstance or system accessed.
- That Government supports equitable access to respite, regardless of relationship to funding or portfolio with attention to availability, accessibility and affordability; responsiveness to the needs of both carer and care receiver of respite services; and responsiveness to the needs of carers and people receiving care living in regional, rural and remote areas. This must involve:
- A demand and needs analysis for respite care among carers, including across different categories of caring, such as aged care, disability, mental health, alcohol and drug services, and palliative care programs.
- Journey mapping to better understand the characteristics of carers, the person receiving care and the broader social network that combine to contribute to situations with higher demand for emergency and planned respite.
- Increase respite offerings in community settings and within the home, based on demand analysis, journey mapping and addressing barriers to funding capital works, ongoing service delivery and workforce issues for all respite types.
- That Government undertakes data collection improvements across settings and sectors to capture respite utilisation and satisfaction outside of residential type facilities, to continue to inform policy, planning and funding decisions.
Recognition of carers is crucial in the post-COVID world, and must focus on carer reform.
- That Government name a Minister for Carers to lead a whole-of-government approach to carer recognition, inclusion, and support, and establish an Office for Carers.
- That Government appoints a Commissioner for Carers to report to the Minister through the Office for Carers and:
- Provide advice to the Minister for Carers and Government on the needs and interests of carers, particularly those carers who are vulnerable, at risk or disadvantaged.
- Establish a high level cross departmental forum to coordinate carer legislation, policy, programs and services so that they are effectively linked across Commonwealth portfolios.
- Instigate and oversee the development of a whole-of-government National Carer Strategy and Implementation Plan with outcome measures that complement jurisdictional based carer strategies.
- Ensure support of carers through the removal of barriers to participate in paid work. This is pivotal to enabling carers’ social, community and economic participation, and greater outcomes for community and government.
- Identify what data is needed to monitor the social and economic impact of national carer policies and programs.
- That Government strengthen the Carer Recognition Act into a rights-based Act, where the current Act is not binding on any other Act and:
- Develop a Carer Impact Statement to inform future policies and decisions, and ensure carers are seen as partners in care in social and health services.
- Strengthen compliance and reporting requirements within Government and have the Australian Public Service Commission to review APS Employment Principles and workplace policies and practices against obligations under the Act in order to provide best practice examples for non-public service care agencies and non-government employers.
Carers need increased support as the hidden ‘care coordinators’, to enable their significant role in coordinating, negotiating and managing care across complex sectors and systems.
That Government fund Carers Australia and the National Carer Network to work with the Commissioner for Carers and provide rights-based independent and confidential advocacy services to carers, involving:
- Family and relationship services which better recognise the role of carers providing individual advocacy on behalf of, and with people receiving care.
- Assist carers to understand and exercise their rights.
- Raise and address issues relating to accessing and interacting with Commonwealth funded services for themselves and/or the person they are caring for including aged care, disability, mental health and social services, noting carers may have multiple care relationships and interact with more than one sector.
- Assist with sector navigation, including digital health literacy and access support.
- Work in partnership with Carer Gateway Providers to improve cross sector and system navigation issues
Carers Australia 2022 Election Survey
Carers Australia has surveyed and received responses from the Liberal National Coalition, Labor Party and the Australian Greens seeking to understand the level of financial commitment and other support each party will provide to unpaid family and friend carers in the next term of government.
2022 Federal Election Survey Responses
18 May 2022 – 153.65 KBBuilding on our 2022 Federal Election Platform, Carers Australia has surveyed the Liberal National Coalition, Labor Party and the Australian Greens seeking to understand the level of financial commitment and other support each party will provide carers in the next term of government. This document is taken directly from and provides an overview of the parties’ responses to the survey.
Australia’s 2.65 million carers urged to weigh up their vote in light of parties’ responses to commitment to Carers Australia’s election survey
18 May 2022 – 192 KBCarers Australia has this week released responses from the Liberal National Coalition, Labor Party and the Australian Greens to a policy survey seeking to understand the level of financial commitment and other support each party will provide to unpaid family and friend carers in the next term of government.
About the Federal Election
The Federal Election is on Saturday 21 May 2022.
It is compulsory for all eligible Australians to enrol and vote in federal elections and referendums. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) can assist people to enrol, vote and provide more information.
If you or the person you care for needs assistance to vote at a polling place, staff are trained to assist, or a person can nominate their carer, relative or friend to assist. If they cannot get out of the car to enter the polling place, someone may bring the ballot papers to them. Mobile polling, postal and phone voting are also available.
If the person you care for has dementia or other cognitive impairment, they may still be able to vote; the AEC has more information on the capacity to understand the voting process and if required, how to remove a person from the electoral roll. Note there is no proxy voting in federal elections in Australia.
If you have been temporarily displaced from your enrolled address due to floods or other natural disasters, you may remain enrolled at that address, or you can add a temporary postal address to your enrolment record. If you have moved to what you now consider a permanent residence, you should update your enrollment.
More information is available on the AEC website, including Auslan and several languages.
2022-23 Federal Budget
These Federal Election Asks were also included in our 2022-23 Federal Budget Submission provided to Treasury, however as our media release states, the 2.65 million carers in Australia were completely forgotten in the Budget handed down on 28 February 2022, with no dedicated new funding provided for their financial support, respite, or wellbeing.
For a summary of the 2022-23 Federal Budget read our ‘What it means for carers’ overview.