Last year, the Federal Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston, announced a new system to support unpaid carers and it’s coming online now.

The government has organised a national network of 16 Carer Gateway service providers to support carers, as outlined by last year’s media release https://ministers.dss.gov.au/media-releases/5096

The local partners for northern Sydney are the Benevolent Society and Yourside.

Sydney Community Services will transfer all our carers support groups and related information to the online system called the Carer Gateway. The system does not get officially underway till April 6 but is ‘live’ now and carers can begin using the system by contacting http://www.carergateway.gov.au  or calling 1800 422 737.  SCS carers’ groups will continue to function with our assistance and support until May when the transition is expected to be completed.

Carers NSW’s online fact sheets about the Carer Gateway say the system will be accessible to most caregivers – excluding those providing it under a contract, as a formal volunteer or as part of their training. Primary carers and those at risk of being unable to continue caring are to be prioritised for certain types of support.

Nine types of support are available according to assessed needs. Online and phone support includes peer support forum, phone counselling and self-guided online coaching. In-person support includes carer support planning, in-person peer support and in-person counselling, carer-directed packages, emergency respite care and in-person coaching.

Carers NSW has welcomed the new system which CEO Ara Cresswell says was designed in consultation with carers and carers’ organisations. Ms Cresswell said the system “promises to deliver a suite of support services on a more geographically equitable basis which will be easier to navigate and less segmented than previously.”

The Benevolent Society is hosting information sessions for carers about new support services, how to access them, locations where the Society delivers services, and more. The session details are:

March 28 – Concord Hospital, Medical Education Centre, Lecture Theatres 1 & 2, 10-11am

March 30 – Canterbury Hospital, Lecture Theatre 1, 10-11am

May 5  – RPA, Auditorium, Kerry Packer Education Centre, 3-4pm

May 7 – Balmain Hospital, Conference Room, 10-11am

Cost / RSVP: Free, including light refreshments; Please book at partnership@benevolent.org.au

Information updates are available at the Department of Social Services site https://bit.ly/37BpLNU

The Benevolent Society explains its role and the Carers’ Gateway   here.

Please contact Carer Gateway on phone 1800 422 737 or carer gateway.gov.au or call Catherine or Branka at Sydney Community Services on 9427 6425 for further information. If you’d like to speak to a Carer Gateway in a language other than English, please call the interpreting service on 131 450.