5. Action Plan
Key Action - Review Service Map annually to ensure it is up-to-date and connections are maintained.
The Service Map comprises programs and services that are ongoing, continuing or ‘business as usual’. This does not mean that these programs are static. The significant disruption to service delivery during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic meant that many programs and services have had to adapt, and as recovery measures are embedded, it will be important that the needs of carers are taken into account.
Tasmanian Government agencies will review the Service Map annually and provide updates. Agencies will only be required to report to CIRG on these activities and programs ‘by exception’ – that is when there is a significant change to the service, eligibility or other policy settings.
In 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Tasmanian carers chose to restrict access to their homes, and their movements outside the home, to protect the people they cared for.
The Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council’s (PESRAC) Interim Report (in July 2020) and Final Report (March 2021) made a number of recommendations which are relevant to enhancing access and participation for carers in education, employment and community life. All PESRAC recommendations were accepted by the Tasmanian Government, and the implementation of some of the recommendations are expected to have flow-on benefits for carers. While these recommendations are not included as ‘New Actions’, they are outlined below under ‘Governance’ and any updates will be captured as part of the annual review of the Service Map.
1.1 Consult on and introduce Carer Recognition legislation including a review of carer principles and governance structures
The legislation will formally recognise the thousands of carers in our community and promote and value the importance of care relationships. The legislation will include a set of principles about the significance of care relations and include obligations for organisations that interact with people in care relationships.
A consultation process to inform development of Carers Legislation will commence in 2021. The Principles outlined in the Carer Policy 2016, and reflected in this Action Plan, will inform the development of the legislation.
1.2 Establish Carers Week community grants program
Funding will be allocated to introduce a new small grants program of $60,000 over three years. This will give organisations the opportunity to deliver events to celebrate National Carers Week and increase awareness of services available to carers. This will be implemented from 2021, and administered by the Tasmanian Government.
1.3 Investigate options for an annual Carer Forum.
A one-day Carers Forum will be planned in consultation with Carers Tasmania, MHFFT and CIRG. Carers and Family Carers Peak Advisory Council members will also be invited to share their experiences with Tasmanian government agency representatives, to contribute to developing solutions to address emerging issues; share best practice; and identify opportunities to promote recognition of carers and access and participation.
Each Forum will have a ‘themed’ topic, which could include:
- Learnings from COVID
- Culturally and Linguistically Diverse carers
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer+ carers
- Aboriginal carers
- Young carers
- Flexible employment and re-entering the workplace
- Interactions with police and emergency services.
1.4 Review Carers Week activities to identify opportunities to increase recognition and awareness of the role of carers.
All agencies will review their Carers Week activities. Depending on the agency’s role, Carers Week recognition activities will have an internal (employees) and/or external focus (carers as clients).
1.5 Investigate opportunities to include carers recognition and awareness activities in the Department of Communities Tasmania’s annual grants rounds.
The Department of Communities Tasmania delivers a wide range of grants to build community capacity to meet the community, sport and recreation needs of Tasmanians and support the achievement of government priorities. Carer recognition and needs will be included in the planning for and targeting of small grants rounds.
1.6 Consult carers in the review of Disability Services Act 2011
Carer issues will be considered in the delivery of the 2021 Review of the Disability Services Act 2011. The review will ensure contemporary legislation that aligns with the role of the Tasmanian Government in supporting Tasmanian with disability; support the delivery of high quality and safe services for people with disability and support national and international commitments. Carers will be consulted during this process.
2 ACCESS AND PARTICIPATION
2.1 Pilot a digital literacy program for carers through Libraries Tasmania.
As part of its broader role supporting digital inclusion in the community, Libraries Tasmania will work with Carers Tasmania to deliver a pilot digital literacy program for carers.
Through the program, carers residing in Burnie will receive a digital device from Carers Tasmania and digital literacy support from Libraries Tasmania.
The aim of the program is that carers develop the skills and confidence needed to use their digital device, including connecting to the internet and using videoconferencing platforms. An evaluation of the pilot will inform thinking on a broader roll out strategy.
2.2 Review the Housing Connect application process to ensure carers are identified and included.
Housing Connect helps low income Tasmanians, including people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, to find or maintain appropriate and affordable homes.
Through Housing Connect people can apply for affordable private rentals, social housing and supported accommodation, or they can be safely housed during a time of crisis. Housing Connect can also provide people with housing related support and information, advice, and referral to other support services available to them in Tasmania.
2.3 Review the Tasmanian State Service Workplace Flexibility Policy to support employees with caring responsibilities.
Work has commenced on a draft Tasmanian State Service Workplace Flexibility Policy. The focus of this work during COVID-19 was on the development of a range of relevant resources to support employees with caring responsibilities.
Further work will be undertaken on reviewing the Workplace Flexibility policy post-COVID-19.
2.4 Maintain and enhance flexible working arrangements in State government agencies.
The State Service Carer Toolkit, launched in October 2019, supports employees to manage their work and care responsibilities. PESRAC also recommended that Government agencies should embed the flexible working arrangements used during the COVID-19 suppression period, to support the recruitment and advancement of women in the State Service (Recommendation 49). Embedding the flexible arrangements will also benefit employees who are carers.
2.5 Implement the outcomes relevant to Carers of the State Service review
The outcomes of the State Service Review will be assessed to determine any implications for carers who are Tasmanian State Service employees.
2.6 Review of the Tasmanian Consumer and Carer Participation Framework
The Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Directorate will review the Tasmanian Consumer and Carer Participation Framework. The review will update the Framework to be more contemporary and evidence based, which will support improved engagement with consumers and carers.
2.7 Support distribution of the Carers Tasmania iCare book in THS hospitals.
The Tasmanian Health Service will work with Carers Tasmania to support distribution of the iCare book in THS hospital facilities. The iCare booklet is a resource for family and friends supporting someone in hospital.
2.8 Tasmanian Health Service Social Work Teams to develop clinical guidelines for working with carers
The THS Social Work Teams will develop clinical guidelines for working with carers that will provide information about the role of carers in the medical journey, including referring to other support services as required.
2.9 Tasmanian Health Service Social Work Teams to develop referral pathways to Aboriginal health and migrant support organisations
Recognising the diversity of carers and the people they care for, the THS Social Work Teams will develop referral pathways to Aboriginal health organisations and migrant support organisations for patients and their carers where appropriate.
3.1 Develop targeted information and referral resources for learners with caring responsibilities.
DoE will update its information and referral resources for learners with caring responsibilities that are a barrier to engagement at school.
3.2 Promote resources for young carers to Department of Education learners, schools, and support staff.
DoE will promote the new resources and related supports available for young carers to learners, schools, and professional support staff.
3.3 Implement the Adult Learning Strategy 2020-23.
The Adult Learning Strategy – skills for work and life supports lifelong learning for all Tasmanians to improve the work and life skills of individuals and to help them find fulfilling careers.
The strategy will help ensure that all Tasmanians, including carers, are better supported to engage or re-engage in learning to improve their employment opportunities and build their personal confidence and mental health and wellbeing.
In particular, a priority of the strategy is to increase community engagement with adult learning through continuing conversations with the community, providing new training opportunities in priority industries, and supporting people with barriers to engaging in learning.
‘The health services are great at what they do, but they do not seem to have the carer in mind. It is always about the recipient and of course, it should be, but carers are a vital part of the person’s life. They need to be considered more.’
Carers Tasmania members, 2021.
‘I hid my caring role and didn’t talk to others or friends about it.’
‘Like a lot of young carers, I didn’t want to bring friends home.’
‘I had missed too much school. I wanted to be a nurse.’
‘I had to be extra good at school, help at home, and make sure there were no extra hassles for mum.’
‘I didn’t think I was a carer. It wasn’t until my guidance counsellor in high school said I was a carer that I realised.’
Young Carers Roundtable (October 2020)