Organisation Submission – Interchange Illawarra

I am a service provider delivering carer services

Interchange Illawarra

We thank DSS for allowing us to make a submission on proposed carer support reforms. Our key recommendations are summarised below:

Recommendation 1: DSS creates the Integrated Carer Support Service within the framework of the Carer Recognition Act, the Statement for Australia’s Carers and the early intervention approach DSS purports to wish to adhere to by linking carer need to tangible carer support regardless of cohort group or level of assessed carer strain. DSS does this without making incorrect assumptions about what a carer can or cannot access in the primary service system.

Recommendation 2: DSS defines overall program outcomes for the Integrated Carer Support Service to measure overall program success. DSS should then ensure program objectives, outcomes and delivery principles work together to meet these measurable outcomes defining program success. Overall outcomes should be created on the basis of carer health and well-being measurements which look at multiple life domains.

Recommendation 3: Regional hubs are funded at a truly regional level so as to cover an LGA or small sub-set of LGAs.

Recommendation 4: DSS develops contracts and guidelines for regional hubs which ensure conflict of interest is avoided in funding carer support at a local level. Supports should be funded to ensure diversity of support on the basis of local and trusted relationships and this needs to be clear in all DSS documentation and accounted for in the new carer support quality and safeguarding arrangements.

Recommendation 5: Regional hubs should undertake rigorous service mapping to fund appropriate current carer supports at a local level including programs such as My Time, peer support and carer, health and well-being programs.

Recommendation 6: DSS defines what short term respite is, who can access it and how.

Recommendation 7: DSS funds planned respite in the new national carer model for carers to access in their own right so it does not risk the success of the Integrated Carer Support Service.

Recommendation 8: Regional hubs should work with LACS and the RAS to give carers information and referral channels within the disability and aged care primary service systems.

Recommendation 9: Regional hubs should be funded to support a carer coordinator at a local level who can be a key contact for carers in the area and provide them with the information they need to find support. This is especially important for carers of people with chronic illness and mental illness who are poorly serviced by the primary service system.