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5.13 Compliance with the Carer Recognition Act

Through the Carer Recognition Act 2010, the Australian Government recognises the exceptional contribution made by unpaid carers. The Carer Recognition Act 2010 stipulates that carers should have the same rights, choices and opportunities as other Australians.

To help achieve this, the Carer Recognition Act 2010 sets out reporting and consultation obligations for Australian Public Service agencies with responsibilities towards carers. The following information has been prepared in accordance with Carer Recognition Act 2010 requirements.

Subsection 7(1)—each public service agency is to take all practicable measures to ensure that its employees and agents have an awareness and understanding of the Statement for Australia’s Carers.

The Agency promotes staff awareness and understanding of the principles contained within the Carer Recognition Act 2010 and the Statement through online tools and resources, including guides on the support available to employees with caring responsibilities and also those who support people with caring responsibilities.

Subsection 7(2)—each public service agency’s internal human resources policies, so far as they may significantly affect an employee’s caring role, are to be developed having due regard to the Statement for Australia’s Carers.

The Agency complies with its obligations under the Carer Recognition Act 2010 and adheres to the principles of the Statement for Australia’s Carers. The Agency Enterprise Agreements (2016–2019 and 2020–2023) and internal human resources policies are also developed with due regard to the Statement for Australia’s Carers, in areas that may significantly affect an employee’s caring role.

The Agency supports carers in the workplace through its employment policies, including flexible hours and access to carers leave. Flexible working arrangements have increased significantly in the last 12 months. The types of flexible working arrangements available to Agency staff to support carers include:

  • part-time work agreements
  • work from home/remote work arrangements
  • job share arrangements
  • individual flexibility arrangements
  • purchased leave schemes
  • flex leave.

Subsection 8(1)—each public service care agency is to take all practicable measures to ensure that it, and its employees and agents, take action to reflect the principles of the Statement for Australia’s Carers in developing, implementing, providing or evaluating care supports.

The role of carers is recognised by the Agency as an important factor in developing participant plans. Carers are included in the planning process, and are recognised in participant plans through the informal care sections of plans. Participant plans are developed with a focus on capacity building and social and economic inclusion for participants.

At the request of the person they care for, carers can help with goal setting, assessment and the planning process. Carers can include a carer statement as part of the participant’s plan development, and this statement is recorded in the plan.

Increasing the capacity of the community to help people with disability, and increasing the social and economic participation of people with disability, improves the situation of carers. The Agency encourages feedback from carers to inform improvements to the way the Scheme supports their needs.

Subsection 8(2)—each public service care agency is to consult carers, or bodies that represent carers, when developing or evaluating care supports.

As a respected stakeholder of the Agency, Carers Australia is consulted and engaged through the Agency’s Stakeholder Engagement Management model, as a member of the Agency’s CEO Forum, as an Expert Advisor to the IAC, and through a variety of key projects as a trusted expert.

Carers Australia was one of several stakeholders consulted in the development of a series of ‘disability snapshots’, including one specifically focused on carers. The carer snapshot aims to improve staff and partner awareness of carers, and ultimately improve the participant experience through the planning process. The snapshot series contains a concise summary of information to support LAC Partners and ECEI Partners and planners, and provides a list of references to further detailed information.

The Agency acknowledges the importance of providing carers, like all families, with the opportunity to take a break from time to time, and continues to work with Carers Australia on the implementation of this advice to planners.