The Carers Recognition Act 2021 came into full effect today, 10 June 2022. The Act formally recognises the vital contribution unpaid carers make to the Canberra community.

An unpaid carer refers to a person who provides unpaid care to family members, friends or neighbours who live with disability, mental illness, a medical condition, or are frail and aged.

Commonly, carers are responsible for the management of medications and provide emotional and social support. Caring may also involve help with organising and attending appointments, banking, and dealing with emergencies.

It is important to distinguish carers from paid support workers, who are employed to assist people with daily living tasks.

In the ACT, there are over 50,000 unpaid carers. Recent research[1] identifies carers are at higher risk of poor wellbeing, psychological distress, and poor health, when compared to the average Australian. Carers also experience higher levels of social isolation and financial stress, and a lack of time for self-care.

In response to these concerns, the ACT Legislative assembly passed the Carers Recognition Act 2021 on 2 December 2021.

The Act establishes principles to respect, recognise and acknowledge carers’ support needs and circumstances. It sets out obligations around awareness raising, consultation and reporting for some government and non-government organisations.

While the Act does not ascribe new rights or entitlements to carers, recognising the challenges unpaid carers experience is an important first step in making sure they’re supported as they work to support the health, inclusion and participation of vulnerable people.

More information about the Act is on the About the legislation page.

More information about the Act’s obligations is on the Information for care and carer support organisations page.

Page updated: 10 Jun 2022