Organisation Submission – Interchange Illawarra Inc

I am a service provider delivering carer services

Maureen Flynn

Interchange Illawarra Inc.

We welcome the chance to make the following recommendations on carer support based on the below principles;

I. Carer support should not be a one size fits all approach
II. Carer support should be provided to carers in their own right, regardless of who they care for and what the person they care for has access to
III. Carer support should be provided locally and involve a combination of online, telephone and face to face support as desired by the carer
IV. Carer support should be provided in partnership with the community. This is especially important for rural and remote areas where there are thin markets
V. Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres should continue to receive funding to support carers in emergencies and with information and referrals
VI. Carers should have access to goals based planning and a carer budget in their own right on the basis of need

Recommendation 1: The Department should adopt a local carer organisation model to provide support to all carers, regardless of who they care for, on a region by region basis. These organisations could be sourced through a competitive tender process.

Recommendation 2: These local carer organisations should be funded to undergo the following activities at a minimum; awareness projects in the local community, carer support coordination, information, education, peer support, socialisation and respite for carers.

Recommendation 3: Carer support should include funding to support peer support groups at a local level in a face to face setting as well as online, with funding allowing for payment of a facilitator to coordinate the group.

Recommendation 4: Peer support groups should be informal places for carers to meet other carers. Peer support should therefore be a service which can be accessed without pre-conditions or structure processes.

Recommendation 5: Respite models such as the Family Managed Allocation (FMA) which facilitate the use of and strengthen personal support networks should be recognized as an important service type within carer support reform.

Recommendation 6: Respite options (and indeed other service options) should be driven by carers and their needs.

Recommendation 7: Carer budgets should be funded on a spectrum to support the most number of carers nationally. The lowest tier could be $1200 PA (the current FMA amount) and the highest at CDC-R budget amounts (allowing for indexation). The carer assessment used by local respite coordination groups in NSW could be used nationally to determine who receives a carer budget region by region and these budgets could be allocated by the local carer organisation and/or Commonwealth Carer Respite Centre.

Recommendation 8: Respite options, including FMA, should be seen as an early intervention strategy and adequately funded and supported. The Department should liaise with the NDIS to ensure that innovative respite options such as the FMA model are part of NDIS roll-out as well as carer support reform.

Recommendation 9: A national trial should be conducted to test the risks, advantages and disadvantages of paying resident and non-resident family members to support people with a disability, mental illness or frailty from age.