Tasmanian Carers Policy

Community, Sport and Recreation

Carers –A Statistical Profile continued

Caring in Tasmania – A National Comparison using 2015 data36 Tasmania has the fastest ageing population in Australia. From 2010 to 2015, the proportion of Tasmania’s population aged 65 years and above increased from 16 per cent to 18 per cent37.

The Government’s commitment to improving the health of all Tasmanian's, and supporting and promoting positive and active ageing, will help carers of all ages to remain healthy and engaged in their communities while undertaking caring responsibilities.

Table 1: Caring in Tasmania – A National Comparison using 2015 ABS data38

Category (per capita)

Tasmania

Australia

Estimated number of carers

84,000 carers equating to 16.6 per cent of the population

2.699 million carers equating to 11.6 per cent of the population

Workforce participation rate:

All carers

58.1 per cent

57.2 per cent

Primary carers

47.3 per cent

43.3 per cent

Table 2: Population Age – 2015 ABS data39

Category

Tasmania

Australia

Median population age

41.9 years

37.4 years

Proportion of population aged 65+

18 per cent

15 per cent

Table 3: Projected Population Age - 2028 Series B40

Category

Tasmania

Australia

Median population age

43.3 years

39.8 years

Proportion of population aged 65+

24.0 per cent

19.3 per cent

Policy aims

The Carer Policy aims to recognise the commitment of Tasmanian carers and support them in their caring role as well as supporting active participation in economic, social and community life for themselves and the people for whom they care.

In delivering the Carer Policy, the Tasmanian Government acknowledges the invaluable role played by carers, recognises them as individuals in their own right, and respects them as key partners in the care support team.

Policy objectives

The objectives of the Carer Policy are to:

  1. Increase the level of recognition of carers
  2. Improve the level of support and services to carers
  3. Involve carers in the development and evaluation of policies, programs and services that affect them and their caring role

Policy principles

The Principles underpinning this Policy are as follows:

  1. Carers are to be acknowledged and treated as individuals with their own needs within and beyond their caring role.
  2. Carers are to be acknowledged as a diverse group of people, coming from all walks of life and life stages. 3. Carers are to be provided with relevant information and referred to appropriate services to assist them in their caring role.
  3. Carers are to be respected as valued members of a care team.
  4. Carers expertise and experience are recognised and used in the development and evaluation of policies, programs and services that affect them and the people receiving care.
  5. The development, evaluation and delivery of policies, programs and services for carers are to take into account carers’ age, gender identity, sexual orientation, cultural and linguistic background, abilities, religion, geographical location and socio-economic status.
  6. To the extent possible, carers are to be supported to enjoy optimum health, social and economic wellbeing, and access to educational and employment opportunities.
  7. The carer and the person receiving care are to be regarded as a partnership, in which each person has rights and responsibilities.
  8. Complaints by carers on decisions and services that affect them and their caring role are to be resolved promptly and without any fear of reprisal.
  9. Government agencies are to be given appropriate support to understand and respond to the needs of carers.

Policy scope

All Tasmanian Government agencies and their agents, including Government Business Enterprises and State Owned Corporations, have responsibility for implementing the Carer Policy.

All Tasmanian Government agencies are to take all practicable measures to ensure that its employees and agents have an awareness and understanding of this Policy.

Tasmanian Government agencies involved in providing care support are to take all practicable measures to ensure that they and their agents reflect the Carer Policy Principles in the development, delivery and evaluation of policies, programs and services.

Policy Context

National Policy Context

This is a period of significant reform at a national level in health and human services. Reforms in the delivery of aged care, disability and mental health services will continue to have significant impacts for carers, as will potential changes to Australian Government payments and associated initiatives that aim to decrease welfare dependency and increase workforce participation.

A 10 year program of reform in the aged care sector commenced in 2012/13 and will continue through to 2022. It has a focus on increasing choice and control for consumers while ensuring a sustainable and affordable aged care system. A key element of the next stage of reform through My Aged Care will be the development of a single quality framework that will increase the focus on positive outcomes for consumers.

Transition to full-scheme National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has commenced and will continue until mid-2019, when approximately 10 600 Tasmanians with disability are expected to be part of the Scheme.

In 2015 the Australian Government announced a system-wide reform package for the mental health system, including changes to the way mental health services may be funded through the Primary Health Network and subsequently delivered in the community. These changes will occur over three years from 2016/17.

A clear direction in all of these reforms is a shift to consumer-directed care. Consumer-directed care means that service users are funded to personally select their own supports rather than funding going directly to community service organisations. For service users, while there are opportunities to have greater control over their options, there may be additional pressures in exercising those choices, accessing new systems, and managing funding. The role of the carer will be vital in helping those they care for to navigate these new models.

The Australian Government is also reviewing the way in which it delivers services to carers. It has committed to develop an Integrated Plan for Carer Support Services in order to streamline and better coordinate carer support services. The first step in the Plan was the development of the Carer Gateway, including a national phone service, website and service finder.

Stage two is a co-design process for the development of an integrated carer support service. The vision for the new service proposes a shift towards a preventative model by raising awareness and focusing on delivery of services which are proven to have longer term outcomes for carers.

The Australian Government has also committed to establishing a new Disability and Carers Industry Advisory Council which will provide advice and recommendations to the Government on proposed legislation or policies affecting the national disability and carer sector. The Council will help drive the implementation of the National Disability Strategy and the full roll-out of the NDIS.

Tasmanian Policy Context

The Tasmanian Government is committed to creating a community and culture where carers have access to the services and support they need and have opportunities to maximise their participation in all areas of life. The Government is implementing a number of key reforms, and programs, services and policies that may shape outcomes for carers, including:

  • Reforms to the health system
  • Reforms to the mental health system
  • Reforms to the child protection system
  • The Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan
  • The Affordable Housing Strategy
  • The Joined Up Human Services Project
  • New initiatives and programs for students with disability
  • The development of an Active Ageing Strategy for Tasmania
  • The development of a Transport Access Strategy

The Government will work with carers, Carers Tasmania and the non-government sector, as appropriate, in the development and implementation of these and other relevant initiatives to ensure that carers’ voices are heard and reflected, and opportunities to improve the lives of carers are identified.

As an employer, the Tasmanian State Service will continue to support employees with caring responsibilities through flexible work practices, leave entitlements, access to support and educating employees on carer rights and issues. The release of the Workplace Diversity Framework in 2016 and the increased focus of heads of Tasmanian Government agencies on embedding more flexibility in employment conditions will assist agencies to continue to promote a carer-friendly culture.

Implementation

This Policy will be implemented through an Action Plan to be developed and released in 2017 and overseen by the Communities, Sport and Recreation Division of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet will engage with carers, Government agencies, Carers Tasmania and key non-government organisations in the development of the Action Plan.

The Action Plan will include mechanisms for agencies to report on and evaluate progress.

36 ABS (2015) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers

37 ABS (2015) Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia 3235.0

38 ABS (2015) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers

39 ABS (2015) Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia 3235.0

40 ABS (2008) Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 Cat No 3222.0

References

  1. Access Economics (June 2015), The Economic Value of Informal Care in 2015
  2. ABS (2008) Population Projections, Australia, 2006 to 2101 Cat No 3222.0, accessed 8 September 2016, http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/ DetailsPage/3222.02006%20to%202101
  3. ABS (2015) Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2015. Data Cube ‘Carers tables’, 44300DO030_2015. Accessed 7 February 2017, http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4430.02015?OpenDocument#Data
  4. ABS (2015) Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings Data Cube ‘Tasmania’, 44300DO006_2015. Accessed 7 February 2017, http://www.abs.gov.au/ AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4430.02015?OpenDocument#Data
  5. ABS (2015) Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia 3235.0 , accessed 22 Aug 2016, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3235.0
  6. Carers Tasmania (April 2011), Disability Care and Support in Tasmania, p 6