7. Background

The Tasmania Carer Policy was released in 2016. Its aim was 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. The Policy Objectives were to:

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

These objectives informed the development of the Tasmanian Carer Action Plan 2017-2020 (the first Action Plan) which contained 22 actions. Of these:

  • Seven actions have been completed. Some of these actions are also incorporated into the Service Map (see Part 3), and
  • 15 actions are ongoing and are captured in the Service Map. Some ongoing actions are also incorporated into the new actions (more information is provided in Appendix B).

As noted in Part 1, the definition of carer used in the Carer Policy has been reviewed and replaced with a simpler, easy to understand definition. This was a key commitment in the first Action Plan.

The Carer Policy also included information on the national and state policy context and statistical data on carers. This information is now out-of-date.

Two key elements of the Carer Policy have been retained and have informed the development of Supporting Tasmanian Carers, the Policy Principles (below) and the Policy Scope. There will be a further opportunity to review the Policy Principles and Scope as part of the development of carer recognition legislation (action 1.1).

Policy Principles (2016)

The Principles underpinning Supporting Tasmanian Carers 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 and accessible information and referred to appropriate services to assist them in their caring role.
  4. Carers are to be respected as valued members of a care team.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. To the extent possible, carers are to be supported to enjoy optimum health, social and economic wellbeing, and access to educational and employment opportunities.
  8. The carer and the person receiving care are to be regarded as a partnership, in which each person has rights and responsibilities.
  9. 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.
  10. Government agencies are to be given appropriate support to understand and respond to the needs of carers.