There are approximately 700 000 informal carers in Victoria,
194 000 primary carers, providing unpaid care to a relative,
partner or friend. Carers contribute greatly to our community, but
often at a physical and emotional cost to themselves. Carers need
access to effective, equitable and timely supports to help them
continue in their role.
This audit examined whether the departments of Health and of
Human Services effectively recognise and support carers.
The departments fund a range of carer support programs and
recognise that supporting carers is core business. However, they do
not treat carer support programs with the rigour that core business
The departments cannot demonstrate the timeliness or
effectiveness of the carer support programs they fund because they
do not monitor wait times or outcomes against program objectives.
Despite demonstrated effort by the departments and service
providers to promote carer supports, carers lack awareness of them.
The departments have yet to attempt to understand and address why
current promotion strategies are not more effective.
Carers have difficulty navigating the service system. The
departments and service providers do not consistently assess,
either directly or by referral, the needs of carers they interact
with. This means carers who need and want support
may miss out. The equity of carer supports is compromised by
inconsistent prioritisation practices and management of
To facilitate carers’ access to support programs and demonstrate
program effectiveness, the departments need to understand how
carers find out about supports, require consistent carer
identification and needs assessments and monitor wait times and
outcomes against program objectives.