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Appendix E: Carer recognition

The Carer Recognition Act 2010 sets out the Statement for Australia's Carers, which establishes the principle that carers should have the same rights, choices and opportunities as other Australians. The Act also includes reporting and consultation obligations for certain Australian Public Service agencies.

Awareness and understanding

Section 7(1) of the Carer Recognition Act requires each public service agency to 'take all practicable measures to ensure that its employees and agents have an awareness and understanding of the Statement for Australia's Carers'.

The Department's employment policies articulate the requirement to make employees aware of their obligations under the Act.

The Department provides respite services to members of the veteran community and their carers through the Veterans' Home Care program. The program's procedure manuals for assessment agencies and service providers refer to the rights of carers and the Statement for Australia's Carers.

Information for carers is provided on the Department's public website, including links to the contact details for a range of carer services.

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Human resource policies

Section 7(2) of the Carer Recognition Act requires each public service entity's internal human resource policies, so far as they may significantly affect an employee's caring role, to be developed with due regard for the Statement for Australia's Carers.

The Department supports staff with caring responsibilities and considers the principles contained in the statement when developing human resource policies.

The DVA Enterprise Agreement 2015–2018 provides access to a range of paid and unpaid leave as well as flexible working arrangements for employees who have to balance work and caring responsibilities. These provisions include personal leave for caring purposes, miscellaneous leave, flex time, and part-time work.

The Department's human resource practitioners support managers and employees who have caring responsibilities by assisting them to access relevant provisions under the enterprise agreement, resources from the Families At Work information service, and counselling services from the Employee Assistance Program.

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Reflecting the principles

Section 8(1) of the Carer Recognition Act requires each public service care agency to 'take all practicable measures to ensure that it, and its employees and agents, take action to reflect the principles of the Statement for Australia's Carers in developing, implementing, providing or evaluating care supports'.

A carer awareness self-paced learning package is available for download from DVA's website as support material for all interested individuals and organisations, including contracted service providers. The package assists in understanding the issues and needs of carers, the Carer Recognition Act and how to comply with the legislation.

The Department's standard deed of agreement includes an obligation for contractors to comply with relevant laws and relevant Australian Government and departmental policies.

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Consultation with carers

Section 8(2) of the Carer Recognition Act requires each public service care agency to 'consult carers, or bodies that represent carers, when developing or evaluating care supports'.

The Veterans' Affairs National Consultation Framework comprises national and state and territory forums. The national forums include the Ex-Service Organisation Round Table, which meets two to three times a year. The round table membership includes organisations that advocate for carers of veterans, such as The Partners of Veterans Association of Australia. Consultation focuses on policy, including carer issues policy; program matters; and the operations of the Department.

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