Annual Report


Our Work

2 people sitting at table painting on paper

Who we support

A carer is a family member or friend who provides assistance with the tasks of daily living to someone who lives with a disability, a medical condition (including a terminal or chronic illness), a mental illness or is frail 
and aged.

A carer’s role can include assisting with daily living activities such as housework, transport, healthcare, shopping, meals, reading and writing, emotional and mental support and personal care.

Why we support

Carers ACT’s purpose is to support, connect and empower carers to maintain their caring role and personal wellbeing.

As a trusted partner in care, we aim to enable carers to undertake their role with capacity and capability whilst also enabling carers to participate in everyday activities such as employment, education, and social activities by providing a range of integrated services and supports.

We are the voice for carers in the ACT and work with industry and government to make Canberra a more carer-friendly community.

We are also a proud member of the National Network of Carer Associations, working in partnership to promote awareness of carers and the issues related to the caring role.

How we support

Carers ACT delivers meaningful support to carers through three core roles:

We support…

As a service provider - designing and delivering services that have tangible positive impact for carers and respond directly to carer needs.

We connect…

As a service navigator – by removing barriers to receiving support and healing carers navigate services, supports and their caring journey.

Using purpose-based decision-making, we continually develop our competency and capacity as a service provider, service navigator and as an influential advocate.

Core Values

Carers ACT aspires to be a trusted partner in care through demonstrating our core values of

  • Courage
  • Innovation
  • Connection
  • Carer centred practice

We support, connect and empower carers to maintain their caring role and personal wellbeing

  • Customer centric in all we do
  • Brave and courageous in what we say and do
  • Innovative in our approach
  • Collaborative partners

At Carers ACT we are deeply passionate about impacting the lives of carers. We are great at partnering with carers through their journey, seeing and hearing carers where no‐one else does, supporting and advocating for better outcomes and being there during the hard times.

Elderly woman walking with dog on a leash and carer by her side


"Thank you all for your continued support and commitment to our shared mission."
Thili Perera

Dear Carers, stakeholders, and supporters,

In November 2021 I was privileged to be elected Chair of Carers ACT. With more than 50,000 carers in need of support, this is a role I deeply cherish and am honoured to hold. Reflecting on yet another extraordinary year of growth for our organisation, I would like to acknowledge the strategic leadership of the Executive and our entire Carers ACT community who support thousands of carers across the Canberra Region over the year. Throughout 2022/2023, Carers ACT worked hard to enhance the lives of carers, focusing on empowering them, advocating for their rights, and ensuring their voices are heard in the development of policies and programs that impact their lives.

As we delve into this report, you'll discover the systemic advocacy that has shaped our path during the year.

Our focus on the implementation of the ACT Carer Strategy is a testament to our commitment to recognising and celebrating the invaluable contributions of carers.

Read more +

Beyond the data and milestones, it is essential to remember the heart and soul that drives our work, and that is the dedication of the carers in the Canberra region. It is the action they take to navigate their often-complex caregiving roles that inspires us every day.

In this report, we will showcase how we've actively engaged with carers, empowering them with knowledge, support, services and care; ensuring they have a platform to share their experiences, concerns, and aspirations.

To our CEO, Lisa Kelly, the Executives and the entire Carers ACT team, thank you for your commitment to our organisation. It is their hard work and dedication that enable us to fulfill our mission of supporting carers and advocating for their rights.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to our Board and our wider community of supporters and stakeholders.

To our funding partners, we say thanks. To our service partners, we extend our gratitude. Your combined collaboration and support have been instrumental in our endeavours. Together, we have achieved significant milestones. Yet, we also recognise that there is much work to be done.

Thank you all for your continued support 
and commitment to our shared mission.

Thili Perera
Chair, Carers ACT

CEO Report

Lisa Kelly
“Every stride we have taken this year has been guided by the unwavering strength and resilience of our carers; to them, we owe our deepest thanks for their invaluable contribution to our community and our hearts.”

Dear Friends of Carers ACT,

I am pleased to present the annual report for the 2022/2023 period, a year that has allowed us to solidify our commitment to carers and those they care for. It is with immense gratitude and pride that I reflect upon the impactful journey we have undertaken together this year.

To begin, we have further delivered on our ACT Carers Strategy. The strategic imperatives of this strategy are deeply rooted in our mission to empower carers, champion their rights, and ensure their voices are heard in the development 
of policies and programs that profoundly affect their lives.

Our dedication to enhancing the lives of carers and promoting their wellbeing remains steadfast.

Read more +

As part of this Strategy, we are committed to systemic advocacy for the rights and wellbeing of those who care. Our unwavering commitment to the interests of carers in the ACT is at the core of all our activity. Our approach involves rigorous research, in-depth analysis, and meaningful engagement with stakeholders, and carers, to identify the critical issues that affect them. We leverage this, through the delivery of evidence-based policy recommendations that drive positive change with policymakers, both at a local and federal level.

I am delighted to report that we have succeeded in securing several policy adjustments and improvements in support systems for carers during this period. Our broader advocacy efforts, contributing valuable insights to national discussions on disability-related policies and practices, have had a meaningful impact on a national scale. For example, our work on the Productivity Commission’s Carer Leave Enquiry as part of the National Network of 
Carers Organisations.

In addition, as Carers ACT actively participates in steering and working groups within the ACT Government, we work to ensure that carers' voices are not just heard but are integral to decision-making processes. We actively attend consultations and provide written submissions on local issues ranging from disability strategies to healthcare transparency. Often, our involvement leads to policy adjustments that better cater to the needs of carers.

We worked with the ACT Government on the development of a new disability strategy, we added value to the ACT Women’s Plan and provided comments on issues like seniors cards, taxi subsidy and the Education Act, all directly impacting carers.

In the mental health space we have provided proposed amendments to the Mental Health Act 2015 (ACT), commissioning for future service delivery in the mental health subsector, and the implementation of new models of care and service delivery within the Canberra Health Services and beyond.

In the Foster and Kinship Carer space we have actively been involved in ensuring wellbeing supports are provided, that external review processes are established and that carer rights are defined and upheld.

Moreover, our advocacy extends to budget priorities. Improved funding allocations for crucial areas such as palliative care, carer financial support, and support services for neurodiverse individuals have resulted from our submissions and recommendations, directly benefiting carers and their wellbeing.

Recognising the pivotal role carers play, especially in informing our advocacy work, Carers ACT has developed a purpose-driven framework for carer engagement. Central to this approach is the ‘Carer Collective,’ a dynamic platform that allows carers to convene and discuss policies and programs relevant to their caregiving roles. This initiative fosters a sense of community and empowers carers by ensuring their experiences, views, and perspectives are acknowledged and valued.

Carers ACT also maintains a robust presence within the carer community through various communication channels. Our monthly newsletter reaches nearly 3,000 carers, achieving an impressive open rate of nearly 60%. Active engagement on social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, allows us to share consultations, surveys, and information about available services and supports beneficial to carers.

Our website serves as an extensive resource for carers, providing information on services, programs, and opportunities for engagement in systemic advocacy efforts. Collaboration with other organisations, such as Mental Health Carers Voice, amplifies our reach and impact, ensuring that carers receive the support and resources they deserve.

In addition to this engagement, we significantly contribute to carer wellbeing through various activities and retreats, providing valuable insights into the challenges and moments of joy experienced by carers. We have conducted carer recognition events, even in the absence of funding, to celebrate and honour the contributions of carers.

Active involvement of carers in all we do ensures that their voices are central to decision-making processes. Furthermore, Carers ACT has developed a Wellbeing and Respite Handbook aimed at further supporting carers. This, amongst others, compliments our service delivery, as we continue to provide assistance directly to carers through our respite programs, support services and the Carer Gateway.

Carers ACT's activities remain steadfastly centred on caring for carers, advocating for their rights, and ensuring their voices are heard in the development of policies and programs that impact their lives. As we continue to navigate challenges and seize opportunities, our commitment to enhancing the lives of carers and promoting their wellbeing remains the driving force for positive change in the ACT.

In closing, I extend my heartfelt gratitude 
to our board, staff, carers, and all those who support Carers ACT. Together, we have 
made a significant impact on the lives of carers and those they care for in the ACT. 
As we look to the future, our dedication 
to improving the lives of carers 
remains steadfast.

Lisa Kelly signature

Lisa Kelly
Chief Executive Officer

Our Strategic Imperatives

Carers ACT is a trusted partner in caring

Partnership Broker

  • Partner with carers to be a trusted source of information and connection.
  • Drive partnerships with key influencers that build awareness and recognition of carers.
  • Collaborate with others in the community to connect carers to information, support and services.
  • Collaborate with the National Network and Carers Australia to form a trusted partner for carers and government nationally.

Responsible Decision Maker

  • Implement business processes and governance that allows the 
organisation to respond effectively and efficiently to the changing environment.
  • Ensure the organisation remains viable and capable of delivering services of value to carers.
  • Maintain accreditation and identity as a quality service provider.
  • Actively pursue opportunities that enables our purpose 
and mission.


  • Collaborate to ensure that carers are able to access quality services in the community that respond to and meet their needs.
  • Provide services that have a positive impact on carers and enables them to continue in their caring role.
  • Assist carers to navigate through service systems to ensure they can access the services and supports that are available to them and the person they care for.

Key Strategic Achievements 2022-2023

Partnership Broker

  • A member of the National Network of Carers Organisations.
  • Worked with Vikings Group to increase their carer friendly practices and seek accreditation as a carer friendly workplace.
  • Developed a carer aware and friendly workplace training program and pilot with MHJHADs and Calvary Health Services.
  • Conducted a presentation on carer aware workplaces for Geoscience and Department of Health and Aged Care.
  • Worked with Carers Australia and the Network of Carers Associations in the development of the Care and Work national initiative to be launched in Carers Week 2023 to promote accreditation of small and medium businesses as Carer Friendly workplaces.
  • Contributed to the IPAA podcast on the value of carers in the workplace.
  • Met with MLAs to discuss the Carers Recognition Act, Carer Strategy and carer needs in the ACT.
  • Participated in Mental Health Australia’s (MHA) Parliamentary Advocacy Day 2022 and NDIS conference. Utilised the ACT mental health commissioning process to advocate for carer-driven respite and funding for carer specific supports. As a result of our advocacy, the Commissioning Team's priority group feedback paper on carers invited further community discussion on respite, carer inclusion and the Triangle of Care.
  • Partnered with the Office for Disability to ensure carers voices were heard during consultation on the development of the ACT Disability Strategy and provided a comprehensive submission.
  • Launched the ‘Carer Collective’, a monthly carer engagement opportunity for carers to discuss their views on policies and programs that impact their caring role. This dynamic platform utilises diverse timings, modalities and locations to accommodate flexibility and equitable access.
  • Produced ‘Sharing Common Grounds of Caring’, a podcast series capturing the stories of First Nations Carers in the Canberra community providing a platform to share their challenges, provide lived experience advice and empower aboriginal carers to engage with the support that is available.
  • Collaborated with the National Network on national issues impacting carers including the NDIS Review, the National Dementia Action Plan and the Review of the impact of COVID-19 on school students with disability.
  • Joined members from other states and territories in a working group to drive, develop and distribute the 2022 National Carer Survey that collects valuable information about carers, focusing on their day-to-day experiences and support needs not captured elsewhere.

Responsible Decision Maker

  • Actively engaged with industry colleagues and the Department of Health and Aged Care in the Aged Care System reforms to ensure carer needs are considered and that Carers ACT is well placed to respond.
  • Transitioned Carers ACT Home Care Package program to other providers, maintaining care needs throughout the transition.
  • Completed an Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Audit of our CHSP services which informed our continuous improvement plan to ensure quality and safe care is delivered in all our services.
  • Reviewed and implemented new Risk, Incident, and internal Assurance Frameworks. Carers ACT continues to progress the development of its Clinical Governance Framework into the coming financial year.

Key Influencer

  • Worked with the Office for Disability to provide a focus group specifically for carers 
as the ACT Government prepared to develop the Disability Strategy 2023–2033.
  • Provided carer informed feedback on the Draft Disability Inclusion Bill 2022 (ACT).
  • Prepared a submission on the ACT Women’s Plan 2016-26 (third action plan) highlighting a range of priority areas required for carers to be included in the planning, particularly female foster and kinship carers.
  • Provided feedback on the Canberra Health Services Learning and Teaching Strategy to ensure the obligations of the Carers Recognition Act 2021 (ACT) were incorporated into the strategy.
  • Conducted an awareness raising workshop on the impact of caring and the consequential needs of carers with all commissioning staff in both directorates. Carers ACT advocated for carer outcomes in all programs funded through the commissioning process.
  • Advocated for the development of a lived experience framework to ensure the voices of carers (and others) were central to the needs assessment and design phases of all commissioning activities. Carers ACT ensured carer voices have been included in the Commissioning Lived Experience Panel.
  • Actively participated in the consultations regarding Voluntary Assisted Dying Laws 
and developed a position paper on this issue which significantly impacts carers.
  • Development of a ‘Caring through COVID’ coffee table book that captured the stories and experiences of carers.
  • Participated in a wide range of consultations, roundtables and surveys across a wide range of sectors engaging in commissioning including:
    • Participated in Mental Health Australia’s (MHA) Parliamentary Advocacy Day 2022, speaking to key influencers in mental health provision from across
the nation, Federal MP’s and Senators about issues of concern for mental health carers including NDIS access, workforce shortages, respite funding, and flexible carer’s leave.
    • Provided a carer-driven and informed written submission on School Refusal and presented evidence to the Senate Committee hearing focussing on the need for consistent data collection, solution-driven policy formulation, and support for carers.
    • Engaged in the Dhulwa Inquiry through advocacy and a comprehensive submission resulting in carers’ perspectives being included in the Dhulwa Oversight Group and the Dhulwa Working Groups.
    • Involved in Mental Health Month including creating a video for a stall at the Mental Health and Wellbeing Expo with a focus on sharing information about the Carers Recognition Act 2021 (ACT) and mental health supports available for carers.


  • Contributed to the development of a new program for in-home aged care by reviewing the discussion paper released by the Department of Health and Aged Care and providing carer insight.
  • Introduced a Social Worker in the General Practice pilot program.
  • Partnered with the Humour Foundation to provide programs for people with dementia and training for carers.
  • Implemented a new respite care program for carers of people who are frail aged with dementia.
  • Implemented a new Care Tribe program building social groups and connection for carers of people who are frail and aged.
  • Collaborated with The ACT Government Energy Support Program for households that have residents with chronic health conditions.
  • Collaborated with Woden Community Services on an innovative respite pilot called 
‘Your Space.’ The pilot development was informed by carers and provided a safe and engaging environment for individuals experiencing mental ill-health to connect with peers while also offering carers much-needed respite.
  • Collaborated with the National Film and Sound Archive, UNSW, UNE and ACT Government initiative to deliver a pilot dementia-friendly cinema screening for people with dementia and their families and carers.
  • Re-established the Residential Respite Booking Service to simplify and support the carer (and family) through the respite journey.
  • Engaged consulting firm ThinkPlace to conduct an immersive research project to inform a future co-design program to identify respite options for carers of people with autism and other forms of neurodiversity.

Service delivery snapshot


Carers were able to share and connect with other carers in more than 457 educational, social and wellbeing 
group activities.


Carers learned strategies to maintain their wellbeing and build resilience through 169 wellbeing sessions such as mindfulness, stretching, walking groups.


Carers enhanced their wellbeing through our 216 social respite program activities such as craft groups, lunches, art groups, and movie and theatre shows.


Carers were able to have a break from their caring role, enhance their wellbeing and make social connections by attending 1 Carer Wellbeing Retreat.


Carers were able to take a break with the aged person they care for during 8 ACT Walking the Journey Together Retreats.


Carers were able to take a break with the aged person they care for during 
5 Illawarra Walking the Journey 
Together Retreats.


Carers were supported through 691 counselling sessions, 428 coaching sessions and 23 therapeutic 
group sessions.


Carers attended 56 educational workshops which equipped them with vital skills and knowledge, boosted their confidence, and strengthened their capacity to care.


Carers in the ACT were provided carer support and planning, respite care, information, and links to local services.


People received relevant information about mental health caring through our Mental Health Carers Voice E-Bulletin.


Carers were able to have a vital break from caring through Deakin Cottage and Naraganwali Cottage.


People attended weekly social 
support groups for our aged Indian, Italian, Muslim, and Sri-Lankan clients and their carers.


Young Carers were supported to balance school, home and caring duties through our Carer Gateway services.


Adults living with disability attended our Hub program which enabled them to maintain social connection and develop essential life skills.


People living with disability were supported through our Support Coordination which enabled them to live more independently and be included in the community.

Carer Satisfaction

Results from the Carers ACT Satisfaction & Engagement Survey Report:


of carers felt heard, supported, and respected by Carers ACT.


of carers reported that the support Carers ACT provided helped them to manage their role as a carer.


of carers felt satisfied with the services they had received from Carers ACT.


of carers felt able to deal with issues that they sought help for from Carers ACT.

"Everyone was helpful, sympathetic and patient. They provide an absolutely invaluable service to families by taking kind care of loved ones so Carers can enjoy times where they are free from the constancy of the caring routine. It keeps people socialised when they otherwise might not have any social contact."
"As I started my journey as a Carer I was able to access invaluable programs and support for personal development which continue to sustain me. The program team members are great. There is a diversity of offerings for body, mind and spirit."
"Courses provided by Carers ACT help me with up to date information and strategies that help me cope with the intense stresses of caring for someone with a very challenging mental illness."
"I cannot thank ACT Carer's enough for the support, help and kindness 
all your staff showed me over this very trying 14 months. I thank them all for getting me through and helping me become a happier, healthier 
and calmer person I am today."

Carer Journeys

A Tribute to Resilience and Empowerment

The heart of Carers ACT lies in the transformative journeys of those we support. Each story is a testament to resilience, growth, and the power of tailored care. This year, we spotlight the empowering journey of Sarah, whose story is a beacon of the profound impact of Carers ACT.

Sarah's journey, initiated through the Carer Gateway, unfolds as a remarkable chronicle of personal growth 
and empowerment. Her story, detailed in the following timeline, encapsulates the transformative impact 
of our services. It's not just about the support received; it's about the profound metamorphosis in every aspect of a carer's life.

Sarah’s Journey

In the Realm of Care: A Journey of Transformation

Sarah joined Carers ACT via the Carer Gateway in June 2021 and has since become a long-term participant in our services.

During her engagement with Carers ACT, she reviewed her Carers StarTM. The Carers StarTM measures the seven key areas of a carer's life to help get the balance of supports right for carers, so that they can optimise their wellbeing and be effective in their caring role.

Notably, the year 2023 marked a significant turning point for Sarah. Her overall Carers StarTM results improved from 'poor' to 'good,' and a key contributing factor was her participation in the Carer Only retreat in June 2023.

Sarah described this experience as "one of the best things I have ever done," highlighting its profound impact on her perspective about life and her carer role. The retreat enabled her to forge meaningful connections with fellow carers, inspiring her to become more actively involved in our groups 
and program events, coaching and counselling.

Sarah's newfound awareness 
led her to recognise the need 
for behavioural changes in her caregiving journey. 
She openly acknowledged her "hard-wired behaviours that 
need to change" and showed a remarkable willingness to embrace this transformation.

The most recent Carers StarTM reflects Sarah's dedication to self-care, her ability to identify situations, and her adeptness at setting boundaries and engaging in difficult conversations. This marks a significant departure from her previous measurements and demonstrates her commitment to continuing her personal growth.

Recently, Sarah has actively engaged with Carers ACT through Care Planning, participation in various Groups and Programs, Coaching, and Counselling.

Her progress is a testament to the power of support and community in enriching the lives of carers like her.

ACT Carers Strategy Progress Report 2018-2028

Carers ACT continues to work in partnership with the ACT Government, carers, and the community sector to develop the ACT Carers Strategy 2018-2028 
- a framework to support and recognise the work of carers and make Canberra more carer-friendly.

A Three-Year Action Plan was launched in October 2018, which outlined 25 actions that will deliver on the vision, outcomes and priorities established in the Strategy. These actions fall broadly under five themes: services and supports for carers; recognition and awareness; inclusion; support for young carers; and workforce and skills recognition.

Year 2020-21 saw the completion of the third year of the first action plan. Building on the work we have already undertaken and the services and programs we provide, we proudly share the ways in which Carers ACT has continued to contribute to the implementation of these actions across the 2022-23 financial year.

Carers Strategy Achievements:

Carers ACT received a Deed of Grant to implement the next phase of the ACT Carers Strategy in January 2023. As such we have undertaken six months of work in this area during this reporting period, and are proud of what has been achieved in this time. These initiatives are part of our ongoing commitment 
to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of carers in our community.

Advancements in acknowledging and raising awareness about carers have been made through an annual recognition event, initiatives designed to place carers' voices at the core of our work (including governance of the Carers Strategy), and the provision of resources to empower carers to sustain their vital role. Work was also completed on a new Respite Handbook designed to improve carers’ wellbeing, with an anticipated October launch to coincide with Carers Week. Other Carer Strategy initiatives include:

Progress towards the delivery of an annual carer recognition event

Traditionally, we host a carer recognition event during Carers Week in October. In the 2022-23 financial year, we organised this event at the National Museum gathering 86 carers, Minister for Disability, Assistant Minister Families and Community Services, and members of the Carers ACT Board. It’s noteworthy that, despite awaiting funding for the Carer Strategy, this event was successfully conducted using Carers ACT resources.

Carers ACT was proud to host a special high tea for International Women’s Day attended by 103 carers and members of the Carers ACT Board and the CEO.

Involvement of carers 
in the governance of the Strategy

In March 2023, the carer members of the Carer Strategy Governance Committee collaborated with Carers ACT in a workshop. Their participation was pivotal in guiding the following areas:

  • Continuation of governance: 
The workshop assessed the feasibility of the existing Governance Committee in its current structure.
  • Review of progress: An evaluation of the progress achieved thus far was undertaken.
  • Future priorities: Future actions and priorities were outlined.
  • Carer governance design: A new governance structure was proposed to enhance carer involvement.

The consensus was to dismantle the current governance model in favour of a more inclusive structure that accommodates more carers, expands opportunities for input and oversight, and emphasises accountability. In this regard, Carers ACT is set to facilitate engagement, oversight, and accountability through several measures, including:

  • Biannual in-person sessions: Regular face-to-face report-back sessions and planning meetings with carers.
  • Monthly newsletter updates: Inclusion of progress reports in monthly newsletters, with avenues for feedback.
  • Carer Collective engagement: Regular presentations to the Carer Collective.
  • Annual scorecard publication: The release of an annual scorecard to provide transparency and accountability.

These strategic enhancements underscore our commitment to fostering a robust and inclusive governance framework. The following table provides a summary of Carer Strategy key activities and outcomes for this reporting period.



The ACT Carers Strategy prioritises carer recognition within government, service providers, health and legal settings, workplaces and the community.

Carers ACT ensured the needs and experiences of carers were included in all commissioning processes across Community Services and Health Directorates. This included:

  • Conducting an awareness raising workshop on the impact of caring and the consequential needs of carers with all commissioning staff in both directorates.
  • Advocating for the development of a lived experience framework to ensure the voices of carers (and others) were central to the needs assessment and design phases of all commissioning activities. Ensuring carer voices have been included in the Commissioning Lived Experience Panel.
  • Participating in a wide range of consultations, roundtables and surveys across a wide range of sectors engaging in commissioning including:
    • ATOD 
    • Chronic Health 
    • Child, Youth and Family Services 
    • Next Steps for Our Kids
    • Community Access and Temporary Supports 
    • ACT Seniors Card
    • Disability Systemic Advocacy
    • Mental Health
  • Conducting an awareness session with GP’s and in-home care providers on the impact of caring and the need for carer engagement in healthcare services, both as the knowledge holder and as a consumer in their own right. This initiative yielded meaningful outcomes, including a partnership with Next Practice GP surgery to implement carer-friendly practices across their surgeries. Furthermore, it sparked collaboration with the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Peak agency, leading to advocacy for increased carer engagement within their member services. As a ripple effect, discussions were initiated with Karrilika regarding carer involvement in their programs for individuals dealing with alcohol, tobacco and other drug addictions.
  • Participation in the ACT Health Directorate Integrated Care Working Group to influence the definition of integrated care to ensure both the consumer and carer were at the centre of health care systems, services and programs.
  • Working to ensure that the impact on carers is considered in any health service redesign towards integrated care or care at home. The impact of this can be seen in the inclusion of carers in the program design for the new Liaison and Navigation system for people with chronic health conditions and/or multiple presentations to 
the Emergency Department.
  • Deploying a marketing campaign to raise awareness of carers and promote the concept of ‘Sharing the Care’ concept. This encompassed various mediums, including media, social media platforms, and targeted advertising in GP surgeries.
  • Conducting several meetings with MLAs on the Carers Recognition Act and carer needs in the ACT.
  • Developing a ‘Caring through COVID’ coffee table book that captured the stories and experiences of carers. This book has been distributed to all MLAs as a way of increasing awareness of carers and increasing recognition of the role and contribution carers make in the community.



The ACT Carers Strategy seeks
to highlight education for all carers but with a specific focus on young carers.

  • Carers ACT secured the inclusion of carers in the free CIT training courses offered through the 
ACT Government.
  • Carers ACT advocated for an expansion of the National Young Carer Bursary scheme to include more annual scholarships. Currently the scheme provides $3,000 scholarships to 100 young carers in the ACT.
  • Carers ACT offered DoNOHarm training for mental health carers and carer representatives who participate in committees and consultations.

Information Access


Carers seek timely, accessible and up to date information delivered in an accessible range of formats.

  • Carers ACT commenced development of a carer portal at Carers ACT which uses AI to identify the services and supports that best fit the circumstances of the carer.
  • Carers ACT deployed enhancements to the Carers ACT website to improve access to information relevant to carers.
  • Carers ACT implemented enhancements to, and promotion of, the Mental Health Carer Navigation website that assists carers of people with a mental health condition to access information on the mental health system.

Ongoing Carer Engagement


Involvement of carers in their own journey and in voicing their views on the issues and services that impact them is a key priority of the ACT Carers Strategy.

Carers ACT significantly advanced its carer engagement approach by developing a purpose-driven framework. Central to our evolved engagement strategy was the launch of the ‘Carer Collective’ – a dynamic platform that facilitates policy and advocacy through the voices of carers themselves. This initiative comprises an opportunity for carers to convene monthly to deliberate and discuss policies and programs that influence their caring role. Discussion topics vary and are adaptive to the current caring landscape and emerging concerns.

The Carer Collective’s approach to engagement is fostering a sense of community while empowering carers to have their experiences, views and caring perspectives acknowledged and valued. This innovative platform not only amplifies the voices of carers, it specifically facilitates the creation of more effective policies and programs through deeper insights into the caring experience. Topics covered in the 2022-23 period include:

  • Education and the changes in specialised supports in Canberra public schools
  • Youth Mental Health Services
  • NGO Mental Health Commissioning

Carers ACT ensured carer voices were heard in the following policy areas:

  • National Cabinet to improve Care Pathways in the Health System
  • Development of the Northside Hospital
  • Food and Organic Waste trial
  • Amendments to the Domestic Violence Agencies Act to ensure it reflects the Carers Recognition Act and did not disadvantage carers who can be both the victims and perpetrators of violence.
  • The future of Virtual Care (ACT Health Executive Board)
  • ACT Health GP Policy Forum
  • Voluntary Assisted Dying
  • National Working with Autistic Children Guidelines
  • ACT Palliative Care and End of Life Care mapping project
  • Review of the laws to protect vulnerable people
  • ACT Drug Strategy Action Plan 2022-2026
  • ACT Women’s Plan Third Action Plan

Carers ACT ensured carer voices through ongoing participation in key influence areas including:

  • Chairing the CHN Community Advisory Council and ensuring carers are considered in programs developed and funded through CHN
  • ACT Aged Care Network

Carers ACT participated in research that informs policy discussions and service development including:

  • Carers NSW National Carer Survey and analysis of the data to identify the key factors that impact carer health and wellbeing and access to services.
  • National Carer Wellbeing Survey to identify improvements and decline in carer wellbeing.

By fostering purposeful interactions, empathetic involvement, and innovative forums like the Carer Collective, we continue to forge a path toward impactful change, ensuring that carers are empowered, valued, and heard within the Canberra community.

Enhanced Support Services 


Enhancement of support services for carers such as those in workplaces and financial supports, including superannuation and government subsidies, are all prioritised in the ACT Carer Strategy.

Carers ACT worked to increase carer friendly workplaces with the implementation of policies and practices that increase the awareness and recognition of carers in workplaces, provide flexibility and support and acknowledge 
the impact of caring. Specific activities include:

  • Working with Vikings Group to increase their carer friendly practices and seek accreditation as a Carer Friendly Workplace.
  • Development of a carer aware and friendly workplace training program and piloting with MHJHADs and Calvary Health Services.
  • Presentation on carer aware workplaces for Geoscience and Dept of Health and Ageing.
  • Working with Carers Australia and the Network of Carers Associations in the development of the Care and Work national initiative to be launched in Carers Week 2023 to promote accreditation of small and medium businesses as Carer Friendly Workplaces.
  • Contributing to the IPAA podcast on the value of carers in 
the workplace.'

Carers ACT worked with the National Network of Carer Associations to lobby the Federal Government on a commitment to the provision of superannuation payments prior to the next term of government. This campaign is supported by research into the financial impact of being a carer and the cost saving to government of superannuation payments over the aged pension.

Carers ACT influenced the 
following services to ensure they were responsive to carers and carer needs:

  • Paediatric Liaison and Navigation System
  • Aged Care Finders program
  • Next Practice GP surgeries
  • ACT Human Rights Commission – Public Advocacy Section
  • Aged Care Services through the NSW/ACT Aged Care
Liaison Group

Carers ACT influenced the development and implementation of the following programs that will increase the support services available to carers:

  • Social Worker in General Practice pilot program. 
  • Expansion of the Humour Foundation in the ACT to provide programs for people with dementia and training 
for carers. 
  • Implementation of a new respite care program for carers 
of people who are frail aged with dementia. 
  • Implementation of a new Care Tribe program to build social groups and connection for carers of people who are frail and aged. 
  • The ACT Government Energy Support Program for households that have residents with chronic health conditions.

Carers ACT obtained funding for the redesign of the Child Development Service and the Children and Young Person Equipment Loan scheme to create a more integrated early intervention system of care.

Carers ACT obtained funding for the expansion of the Autism Spectrum Disorder assessment service.

Carers ACT gathered a collection of carers stories that will be used to highlight the role of carers and their contribution to the community in a range of carer awareness and recognition activities.

Next steps

Carers ACT is working towards developing agile Action Plans that guide efforts under the ACT Carers Strategy into the future. Short and longer term Action Plans developed with and by Carers will continue to align with the priorities and outcomes from the original Strategy, while working to support and embed those that have already been initiated through the first Action Plan. Carers ACT has continued to progress priorities of the Carers Strategy on many fronts including initiatives to increase community awareness, carer-friendly health practices and workplace support 
for carers.

Our dedication to empowering carers and fostering a supportive and inclusive community will continue to drive our efforts in the coming year. As we navigate challenges and seize further opportunities, we remain committed to enhancing the lives of ACT carers and promoting carers’ wellbeing. Carers ACT endeavours to:

  • Develop and launch a Respite and Wellbeing Guide for Carers.
  • Socialise the next draft action plan with carers, Government officials and stakeholders.
  • Pursue a Carer Recognition Card.
  • Embed supports for carers 
who participate in representation activities.
  • Support carers in schools 
and workplaces to achieve recognition and equality.
  • Ensure the voices of carers 
are heard and included in policies, services and systems that affect their lives.
Carers ACT staff are passionate about helping in any way they
can, and this reassures us carers, there are people who understand, and are doing all they can to connect us carers who may otherwise feel isolated.

ACT Carers Recognition Act Report

The Carers Recognition Act 2021 (ACT) is an act specific to the ACT, which recognises and promotes the role carers have in our community. The Act outlines principles that require organisations to consider and adapt practices to support the care relationship that exists between carers and the people they care for.

The Act is a set of principles that will support people in care relationships. Carer and care support agencies will be required to comply and report on these principles. The Care Relationship Principles consider 
the treatment of carers, the treatment of people being cared for and the treatment of people in a care relationship.

As the peak body representing and supporting the ACT’s 50,000 plus carers, Carers ACT is honoured to be providing our inaugural report to the Carers Recognition Act 2021.

Raising awareness about and promoting the care relationship principles


As a carer peak body, our primary purpose is to raise awareness, recognise, promote, support, connect and empower carers to maintain their caring role and wellbeing. We believe that the caring role and wellbeing is supported when people needing care are safe, and their quality of life and wellbeing are being supported by a trusted care partner.

An inherent focus of all of our work is to raise awareness of carers and the care relationship principles within services which impact carers; within the sector in which we operate; and within the broader community.

Examples of raising awareness and promotion of care relationship principles can be found throughout the Carer Strategy and Strategic Achievements sections of the report. Further examples of our activities in 2022-23 include:

  • The Care Relationship Principles and the significance of the Carers Recognition Act are regularly discussed within our organisation with our carers, participants and staff.
  • We provide monthly updates on our policy and advocacy activities to provide our carers and staff with practical examples of how we are advocating for carers through influencing systemic change to government systems, raising awareness in workplaces and raising general awareness in the broader ACT community.
  • This year, we ran a training session for all of our staff focused specifically on the Carers Recognition Act and the care relationship principles with an interactive component supporting recognition and discussion.
  • We continued to provide carer awareness training to ACT Government Directorates and Federal Government Departments raising awareness of carers and Care Relationship Principles. These presentations always include discussion of the Carers Recognition Act as well as the supports available for carers.
  • We have updated our website, providing an accessible and engaging format whereby services, supports, and information can be readily found by carers, the community sector and the broader ACT community. Additionally, we maintain a website specifically for mental health carers.

Extending our reach to ACT carers 


Carers ACT ensured carer voices through ongoing participation in key influence areas including:

  • Carers ACT issued a monthly newsletter, distributed to almost 3,000 carers, offering resources and activities aimed at enhancing the wellbeing of carers. It also empowers them by providing opportunities for feedback and input. With an outstanding open rate of close to 60%, the newsletter far exceeds industry standards.
  • Carers ACT increased carer recognition and carer awareness through a marketing campaign which focused on recognising carers, social wellbeing, and health, which complimented Carers ACT regular communication activities. The campaign exceeded engagement targets by more than seven times and saw the number of new carers being supported by Carers ACT increase by 20% across the year.

Supporting carers


The services provided by Carers ACT are focused on supporting carers and therefore we are regularly seeking feedback from carers in person and via formal means. During the reporting period we have planned and delivered a number of new services, modified others and sought to improve the ease in which carers can engage with support. Key areas include:

  • Carer self-managed portal system: Development of a carer self-managed portal system continued, which will provide the ability for clients to register and view services they have previously booked.
  • Re-established the residential respite booking service: Carers ACT re-established the residential respite booking service, engaging with Residential Aged Care facilities directly to simplify referral pathways for carers attempting to locate respite opportunities. Client feedback was extremely positive for the service demonstrating the benefit
it has for carers.
  • Responding to sector changes and emerging unmet needs: Carers ACT continues to monitor and respond to unmet needs. During the last year, we have identified a number of sector changes in the areas of carer supports that has resulted in increased demand for service.
  • Maintained High Care Satisfaction levels: Carers ACT has maintained carer satisfaction levels above 90% satisfaction rating while supporting carers across the full geographic region within the ACT.
  • Pilot projects: Carers ACT partnered with organisations to explore new ways to support carers though pilot projects including:
    • Neurodiversity: Carers ACT completed an immersive research project which provided recommendations into respite options for families caring for children with neurodiversity.
    • Mental ill-health: a pilot service and an ongoing 
co-design process was undertaken with a Community Services provider and people with lived experience both as a carer and a person experiencing mental ill-health.

New insights and approaches have been incorporated into service delivery options for the coming year.

Diversity highlights


Carers ACT continues to extend its reach within the diverse community of the ACT. 

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Carers: Carers ACT increased the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers it supports to 7.2% of carers accessing the Carer Gateway service. Carers ACT’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation is demonstrated through our ongoing engagement with community and our identified Care Planner targeting culturally appropriate activities. 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Carers: Carers ACT recorded and released 11 episodes of Sharing Common Grounds of Caring. The podcast captures the stories of First Nations Carers in the Canberra community providing a platform to share their challenges, provide lived experience advice and empower aboriginal carers to engage with the support that is available. 
  • Young Carers: Carers ACT continues to experience high levels of engagement with Young Carers and has a dedicated Care Planner for carers who are children or young people. This year our work for young carers included engagement and support expanded through community and health network partners, educational environments, and profile-raising events such as those held during Carers Week, NAIDOC Week and Youth Week. The demand for Young Carers programs has seen us increase the resources allocated to support young carers. 
  • Social and CALD wellbeing groups: Carers ACT Social and CALD education, social connection, and wellbeing groups expanded this year, with a significant increase in CALD engagement rates within the Sri Lankan, Italian, Muslim, and Indian groups. Programs were designed around the 5 Ways to Wellbeing framework (Connect, Be Active, Keep Learning, Be Aware and Help Others). 
  • Disability and Cottage Respite: Carers ACT Disability and Cottage Respite environments continue to engage with carers and care recipients, with program development incorporating regular feedback into program development and diversity expression. The Disability Day program has supported a number of participants to engage specifically with being comfortable and feeling confident to express their LGBTIQ unique needs in public settings. 

Human Resources Policy


As carers are our primary clients, we strive to provide excellent recognition and support for employees who are carers. Working together, we create not only a community, but also a workplace that values and respects the caring role. Our human resources policies (which are available to staff through their personal portal) discuss the options for carers, and at induction, new staff are introduced to the concept of the care relationship principles.

Carers ACT staff who are carers are entitled to an additional five days of carers leave which is above and beyond industry standard that is determined by the National Employment Standards.

In addition to carers leave, Carers ACT provides flexible workplace arrangements where possible. We have many staff who are recognised as carers within our workplace and to ensure they are supported in their caring role we encourage open and honest discussion around their caring responsibilities and our human resource policies and procedures enable us to support their caring needs. Some use their additional carers leave only, some have set days working from home to support their caring role, some adjust their hours to manage their caring role and some use all three options.

Our Staff

Results from the Carers ACT Employee Satisfaction & Engagement Survey Report, conducted by Your Say in April 2023, show:

Staff rated their organisation satisfaction (its culture, direction and strategy, and workplace inclusion) at:


Staff rated their work-life quality satisfaction (a balance between personal and work-life, a physical environment conducive to performance, and perceived happiness of co-workers) at:


Staff rated their recognition and acknowledgement of their work satisfaction (type and frequent of recognition, positive feedback for good work performance) at:


Staff rated management satisfaction (clarity of goals and expectations, support and encouragement from management and managers competency) at:


Staff rated their own work satisfaction (an understanding of expectations, personal satisfaction derived from work, degree of autonomy and support and manageable workloads) at:


Staff agreed with the statement 
“I feel that this organisation makes a positive difference.”


Our partners & supporters

Shaw Building Group

Carers ACT extends its heartfelt gratitude to Shaw Building Group for their unwavering 17-year commitment. Their annual Bowls Day has been an incredible source of support, raising nearly $120,000 for carers. This generous contribution enabled us to deliver respite services, tuition assistance and skill development to those who need it the most. Our long standing relationship with Shaw Building Group is a testament to their dedication, and we are deeply thankful for their continued support.

Community support

Carers ACT would like to express our gratitude for the financial and volunteer assistance received from a multitude of individuals and companies over the past year, whose generosity has significantly enhanced the daily lives of carers and the individuals they care for. We also wish to express our heartfelt thanks to the dedicated carers who kindly shared their stories, advocating for carers' needs in the media, government, forums, and committees. Their efforts have played a pivotal role in shaping policies and raising awareness about the invaluable contribution of carers to our community.

Funding support

Carers ACT would like to acknowledge and thank the following organisations for their continued support and funding:

  • Australian Government Department of Social Services
  • Australian Government Department of Health
  • ACT Government Health Directory
  • ACT Government Community Services Directorate
Download the
Audited Financial Report