New carer support program announced

Carers NSW CEO, Elena Katrakis

Around 37,000 Central Coast carers stand to benefit from a $550M Federal Government support package being delivered through Carer Gateway.

While funding for the reform was first announced in 2018, delays in tendering and establishment have seen implementation of the program put off until this month.

Carers NSW has been chosen as the Carer Gateway service provider on the Central Coast.

Carers NSW CEO, Elena Katrakis, said the program was the biggest carer support reform in Australia in more than a decade.

“This will replace the previous fragmented system of carer support,” Katrakis said.

“New services for carers include carer support planning, counselling, peer support, carer directed support packages, and emergency respite services.

“Anyone can become a carer at any time, through the birth of a child who has special needs, as a result of a loved-one’s accident or illness, if someone close to you has an addiction or a long-term health condition, and sometimes, because the people we love simply get older.

“Whatever your circumstance, Carer Gateway is a great free resource available to all carers.

“Getting help early can make a big difference to a carer’s life, reducing carer stress and improving wellbeing.

“Carer Gateway is focussed on early intervention services to ensure carers get the support they need.”

Katrakis said the new service had seen a “slow but steady” start since April 6, with the coronavirus pandemic and Easter impacting enquiries.

“A lot of planned in-person counselling is having to be conducted online right now,” she said.

“Previous plans to deliver in-person through PCYCs have had to be put on hold due to closures through the pandemic.

“At the same time, COVID-19 makes it much more full-on for informal carers, who are now all confined to homes.

“This adds even more stress to an already stressful situation and it’s even more important for carers to be able to reach out.”

Media release, Apr 6
Carers NSW
Interview, Apr 21
Carers NSW CEO, Elena Katrakis