'The Voice' Blog May 2023

Welcome to the May Edition of The Voice

There has been a lot happening this month at Carers Victoria!

May is the month for Mingling. We have launched our much-loved Mingle events for 2023, with the first catch-up kicking off in Cranbourne.

The Albanese Labor Government also delivered the Federal Budget 2023-24 earlier this month. Find out how you as a carer will be impacted, as we unpack the detail for you in this month’s issue.

We are also pleased to announce that we have joined forces with Life Live Foods, now giving you access to high-quality nourishing meals at an exclusive discounted rate. And to celebrate the partnership, you can now go in the draw to win free home-delivered food for a whole month now! Read on for your chance to win!

Footsteps of Two author, Joanne, who was also featured in our Carer Story last month, has agreed to partner with Carers Victoria, and will donate a percentage of her book sales to give back to carers! Joanne’s experience as a dual carer for both her son and daughter is a story of perseverance and highlights the need for universal recognition and support of those in caring roles.

There are a host of other activities to look out for in the coming weeks. Check out the list of options to participate in!

So, grab a coffee and enjoy the latest edition of The Voice.

Happy reading
The Carers Victoria Team 

Message from the CEO

Hello everyone,

This month sees both the state and federal budgets handed down and Carers Victoria is keeping a close eye on both given they provide critical funding for carer support.

The Federal Budget was delivered on 9 May 2023 and included measures that will improve healthcare and provide some cost-of-living relief for many Australians, including carers (see separate article in this newsletter for some more detail).

However, with carers playing such a critical role in Australian society, Carers Victoria and other members of the National Carer Network urge the Australian Government to address the specific needs of unpaid carers and mandate their inclusion in the design and implementation of all reforms that impact them. This includes a strong focus on addressing the economic disadvantage that so many carers experience.

The Victorian State Budget was pushed back a few weeks this year and will be released on 23 May so we will provide you with a separate briefing on that and what it means for carers, as well as unpacking it in the next edition of The Voice.

May is also the month where we kick off our annual round of Mingles, with the first one held in Cranbourne on 15 May. It was great to see so many people there with great energy in the room. There are still a few places available at some of the Mingles in May and June, so do join us if you are able.

Have a great month everyone.

Judith Abbott


Federal Budget 2023 – What does it mean for carers?

The Albanese Labor Government delivered the Federal Budget 2023-24 earlier this month.

It was promising to see that The Budget included measures that will improve healthcare and provide some cost-of-living relief for many Australians, including carers.

However, with carers playing such a critical role in Australian society, Carers Victoria and other members of the National Carer Network have urged the Australian Government to address the specific needs of unpaid carers and mandate their inclusion in the design and implementation of all reforms that impact them.

Some of the key Federal Budget announcements of relevance to carers include:

  • Victorians who currently get a state or territory energy relief payment will receive further bill relief.
  • Additional Medicare funding will be available:
    • To support bulk billing of children under 16, pensioners, and other Commonwealth concession card holders (Carers Australia is seeking clarification if Carer Allowance and Payment recipients are eligible)
    • For longer consultations for people with chronic conditions and complex needs.
  • Funding to extend psychosocial support for more than 18,000 people with severe mental health illness who are not covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
  • Funding for a range of reforms in the NDIS, including two to address fragmented disability policy and data sources.
  • More funding for aged care home care packages and an extension of the Disability Support for Older Australians Program.

For further detail, have a look at the Carers Australia media release.


It’s time to Mingle with us

Mingle 2023 offers a great opportunity to find out more about carer services in your local area, connect with other carers and take a break to prioritise your wellbeing. We held our first event for 2023 in Cranbourne.

So, don’t delay! Come and join us at Mingle 2023. Share your voice, make new connections, and delight in the soulful performance of popular singer and songwriter, Michelle Parsons, while enjoying a delicious High Tea.

And it is FREE for unpaid family and friend carers!

We have released more tickets for unpaid carers at Shepparton, Geelong, Werribee, Bairnsdale, Bendigo, and Croydon.

We know caring can be tough, so if you know another carer who needs some time out, invite them to RSVP too. One Mingle event per carer.


Our New Partnership Live Life Foods

Carers Victoria has partnered with Live Life Foods to provide high-quality nourishing meals for carers, as well as their care recipients.

Live Life Foods not only taste fantastic, but each meal created meets the daily nutritional requirements for Victorians over the age of 65 in accordance with Nutrition Professionals Australia (NPA) to ensure the industry guidelines for protein and energy are met each day.

There is a bounty of options to choose from. Check out the options here. And as a Carers Victoria member, you can gain access to exclusive deals and discounts. It's that easy.

To celebrate the all-new partnership, we have launched a competition for you to have a chance to WIN a month of delicious two-course meals.


Support for Carers Program

The Department of Families, Fairness, and Housing provides support, programs, and services for Victoria’s carers in partnership with the sector. The Support for Carers Program provides respite, one-to-one support, and group counselling, as well as supporting all Victorian carers. The program can provide tailored, flexible support based on a carer's individual needs and circumstances.


Carer Advisory Service

Carers Victoria’s Carer Advisory Service is a free and confidential 1800 number providing our members, carers, families, and supporters with information, advice, and help in accessing a range of carer-specific services.

Carers tell us that it can be a challenge to understand what help is available, where to find it, and how to manage these complex systems on behalf of themselves and the person they care for in a clear and timely manner.

Staffed by experienced and qualified Carer Support Advisors, we offer carers and supporters expert advice on a wide range of topics from navigating service systems to providing referrals to respite and support services across Victoria.

Our Carer Support Advisors can help carers access the Victorian Support for Carers Program by providing referrals to a range of respite and other supports funded by the Victorian government. We can also support carers in their navigation of various programs including the Carer Gateway, My Aged Care, NDIS, Disability Gateway, and mental health services.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm
Phone: 1800 514 845
Email: access@carersvictoria.org.au

For an interpreter, call Telephone Interpreter Service on 131 450 to arrange a call to speak with us.


New Resources

Defence and Veteran Carers

Carers within the Australian Defence Force (ADF) or those who care for current or former ADF members can now gain access to a suite of resources to support their carer’s journey.

Around one in eight current or former ADF personnel have a partner, parent, sibling, or child, who provides care and support for them because of disability, long-term health conditions or old age.

Although the ADF and Department of Defence provide some support, there is limited available that is specific for carers. That is why, with funding from the Department of Defence, Carers Australia developed the Defence and Veteran Carers Network.

This web hub provides support, resources, and an advocacy platform for this unique group of carers.

Carers Australia is also collecting stories to highlight the voices of Defence and veteran carers to help raise awareness of their important role and unique challenges, through written content and an upcoming podcast.


Carer Story: Vanessa's Story

For 37-year-old Vanessa, caring for her mum, who was diagnosed with dementia in February 2023, has been a true labour of love.

With her father passing away from motor neurone disease in 1999, Vanessa and her mum have been a dynamic duo – always together at home and out socially.

And for Vanessa, even after the diagnosis, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Mum and I have always been thick as thieves, so it has been heart-wrenching to see my mum decline because of dementia at such an accelerated rate."

“Mum was always such a social person and very independent, and to have that cut short, so dramatically, has been cruel."

“I remember her frantically calling me while I was overseas on holiday, unable to get home as she was lost. Fortunately, a good Samaritan saved the day and was able to take her home. I felt helpless.”

Vanessa is very thankful that she has an amazing employer who has supported her to work from home full-time, while caring for her mum.

“My employer is so compassionate and understands that I need to take a lot of time to do everything for my mum including dress her, cook for her, as well as all her hygiene needs."

“Mum needs me around her all the time and at night, paranoia sets in, so she is quite fearful and sad. So sleep time is very disrupted for both of us.”

While it is heartbreaking that Vanessa’s mum may forget who her daughter is, there are still moments of light and happiness that Vanessa treasures.

“My mum has a wonderful appreciation of 1950s music, especially Connie Frances, and is very nostalgic about the past, especially with her siblings and parents. She is still a great storyteller and I love that about her.”

For Vanessa, the challenges of getting consistent and longer periods of respite have been difficult, but Carers Victoria has been a great beacon of support.

“As my mum is bilingual, it was such a bonus to find a person to help with respite who could speak Filipino. It was Carers Victoria who came to the rescue and now, we have a lovely person who provides respite where mum can speak her first language.”

Vanessa is looking forward to further support to hopefully relieve some of the pressure for herself as a full-time carer.

“I know that home is the best place for mum, a place of love and familiarity. So that is why she is with me. While I know that I may be missing out on some things, my mum is the top priority and that includes keeping her comfortable and as happy as possible."

“Thank you so much Carers Victoria for having my back when I needed support. It is such a relief to know that I have so much encouragement from an organisation who simply wants to help.”


Do you have a story to tell?

You are welcome to write your story yourself or answer these questions, which we will use to write your story for you. Not all stories will be chosen for the website.

  • Topic: My carer story
  • Length: No longer than 400 words
  • Format: Type your story in an email or a Word document, or type your answers to the questions in this document
  • Need inspiration? See other stories that have been written here
  • Submission process: Please email your story to eBulletin@carersvictoria.org.au
  • What if your story is chosen? Your story will be edited and returned to you to make sure you are happy with the final version before it is published on our website.

If you have any questions, please email: eBulletin@carersvictoria.org.au 

We look forward to hearing your carer story! 


What is our Carer Community up to?

Joanne, the author of Footsteps of Two, who was featured in our Carer Story last month, is partnering with Carers Victoria to very generously donate $3 from every book sold. Joanne’s experience as a dual carer for both her son and daughter is a story of perseverance and highlights the need for universal recognition and support of those in caring roles.

About the book:

In this must-read book, Joanne Copeland shares her journey and the life-altering moment when her twins, Zalie, and Flynn, were diagnosed with autism. Joanne shares the challenges she faced following the unexpected double diagnosis in her honest, heartfelt account of what life has been like since – without hiding any of the raw emotions of denial, blame, and guilt she encountered along the way. Through the challenges, Joanne shares hope that things will be OK. You will discover how to develop a never-give-up attitude, even in moments of difficulty and self-doubt. The lessons shared will enable you to find inner strength even on the darkest days.

Footsteps of Two is a personal story of two children whose lives were turned upside down and how having the right understanding and support made such a difference.

An inspirational read for anyone who wants to smile and a must-read for everyone affected by autism.

Do you have a something you have been doing in your community to support carers and raise awareness?

If so, please contact us at marcomms@carersvictoria.org.au so we can share your story.


Featured Provider Supporting Carers

Elder Rights Advocacy

Elder Rights Advocacy supports older people, their careers, families, and representatives in Victoria.

Elder Rights Advocacy recognises and acknowledges the challenges and complexity of caring for an older person in their home or in an aged care home. Our professional, highly skilled advocates can provide up-to-date, relevant information to help older people and their carers make informed choices about care and services. From step one in contacting My Aged Care to assessment, choosing a provider, care planning, and ongoing negotiations with providers, we are here to stand beside you and ensure that the rights of the older person are being respected.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care and Safety recommended that informal carers also receive timely, quality support that meets their assessed needs. Speaking personally, as a carer for my grandmother at home during the last six years of her life, I know the importance of this recommendation. Fortunately, I did have support from other family members; however, this is not always the case. At Elder Rights Advocacy, we hear from carers and family members who are in conflict over the care of the older person and are stressed and overwhelmed by their situation. Our advocates are here to stand beside you and work in your direction, always with the older person and their perceived interests guiding the way.

The aged care journey need not be an onerous one when you have the appropriate support in place. Elder Rights Advocacy is a free, confidential—and importantly—independent service that gives voice to the older person and their representative. We are here to uphold your rights and to remind providers of their responsibility to deliver person-centered and culturally appropriate care that meets the assessed needs and preferences of the older person. Good communication and consultation are essential to successfully engage with aged care providers, so please do not hesitate to contact Elder Rights Advocacy on 1800 700 600 or visit era.asn.au if you need assistance.

Debra Nicholl, CEO of Elder Rights Advocacy


Employment, Education and Training Opportunities

Carers Victoria currently has a suite of initiatives underway to support carers who wish to enter/re-enter paid employment, vocational training, and education.

If you want further information or would like to discuss your situation or explore your options, please email employment.support@carersvictoria.org.au with your contact details and we will be in touch.


Become a member and stay connected

Become a member of Carers Victoria and join our community to help us make a difference in the lives of Victorian carers.

Membership is free and open to carers, former carers, supporters and Carer Support Groups.

Membership benefits include:

  • Exclusive invitations to events including our popular Mingle events, carer workshops and programs.

  • Championing for real change through consultations, focus groups and research.

  • Staying informed with our monthly eBulletin The Voice, jam-packed with important carer issues, events and stories.

  • Free digital access to the magazine Australian Carers Guide.

  • Special member offers, including Hoyts movie tickets.



Featured Workshop

Get to Know the Services that Support Carers in Melbourne’s West

Find out what’s in your local area

Join Carers Victoria and a range of Service Providers to find out what support is available for carers in Melbourne’s west.

This session will provide you with information about support services that operate in your area, including:

  • Carer Gateway: Register on the spot with Carer Gateway
  • Services Australia: providing information about Centrelink payments, and other government services
  • Financial Counselling Victoria: providing information to help people experiencing financial distress or hardship
  • Help with energy bills: How to reduce them, how to get extended payment plans, and more (Energy & Water Ombudsman – EWOV).
  • A space to provide feedback as a carer. Carers Victoria is always looking to better our understanding of the challenges currently faced by carers and ideas of support that may be able to assist those in caring roles.

This information session also gives carers a chance to connect with one another and share knowledge and experiences.

Light refreshments will be provided from 10.30am - 11.00am (morning tea with scones, jam, and cream.) Door prizes. Informal talks by service providers.

Please contact Susannah Kennedy for access/inclusion queries, including interpreters or other supports in advance of the session, dietary requirements, or if you wish to bring the person you care for to the event: susannah.kennedy@carersvictoria.org.au.

Who should attend?

Carers of all ages in Melbourne’s Western Metropolitan area, including those in Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Melton, Moonee Valley and Wyndham Council areas.

When: Tuesday 23 May 2023
Time: 10.00am - 12.00pm
Where: Taylors Lakes Hotel - 7 Melton Highway, Taylors Lakes VIC 3038


Carers Victoria Workshops

We offer a wide range of workshops for carers and service providers.

Our workshops for carers support you to:

  • Develop skills to support your caring role;
  • Gain knowledge to navigate complex support service systems; and
  • Enhance your health and wellbeing.

Check out what’s on in May and June.


Calling all male carers

Carer Wellbeing and Connection – Online Group

We know that people who provide care for a loved one often experience loneliness and can feel socially isolated. If this sounds familiar, the Online Carer Wellbeing and Connection program may be right for you. In response to requests from our male carers, we are offering a group, for men only, as well as mixed-gender groups.

It consists of a series of five online therapeutic group sessions designed to help you better understand connectedness and personal wellbeing. If you live in the North-Western metro region, you can register your interest for a Mixed Gender or Male-Only group commencing in June 2023.


LGBTIQA+ Carers Group

FREE sessions are available for 2023 by Carers Victoria and Queerspace

Are you an LGBTIQA+ person providing unpaid care for parent, partner, sibling, housemate, or friend?

Sign up for free sessions, where you’ll meet new people and get access to information and referrals. The aim of the group is to provide a space to relax and unwind, build knowledge and understanding and connect socially with other LGBTIQA+ carers.

Booking Information
To secure your place, phone 9663 6733 or email qsgroups@ds.org.au.
You can come to as many sessions as you like!

LGBTIQA+ Carers Facebook Page

Carers Victoria has a dedicated Facebook page for LGBTIQA+ Carers. Follow us to stay in the loop



My Health Record for Carers Webinar

Carers play an important role in managing the health information of the person they are caring for. Join this session to find out more about how carers can access and manage My Health Record of an individual. This session will cover the role of authorised and nominated representatives. There will also be an opportunity for questions and answers at 1.00pm.


Walking groups

Western Programs walking groups 

Carers in Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Caroline Springs, Moonee Valley and Werribee are invited to come along to a walking group in your area. Catch up with other carers over a light brunch and find out about local supports and services for carers. Places are limited, so register your place now. 

Pathways for Carers walking groups: Victoria wide

Carers throughout Victoria are invited to attend walking events in their area to learn more about news, services, and supports available to carers.

Heart Foundation walking groups: Australia wide 

There's a reason why walking is one of the most popular forms of activity in Australia. Join a Heart Foundation walking group to reduce stress, be more alert, have a healthier body and build strong relationships.




Seeking Participants for a Research Project

Are you a carer or family member of an adult who has an intellectual disability?
Would you like to help with a research project at Latrobe University, designed to help people with intellectual disabilities get an improved experience when they are in the hospital receiving care?

What’s involved?
Reading online resources and working through them (60-90 minutes), then answering an anonymous, short survey (15 minutes) to let the researchers know if you think the web-based resources are useful, reflect real-life situations, and are easy to work through.

Reimbursement for participation
You will receive a $40 shopping voucher for your participation.

How do I participate?
For more details, please email hospital.inclusion@latrobe.edu.au. You will be sent a link to the website and the survey if you decide to participate.

Any questions?
Phone 0425 484 362 if you have any questions or email the researchers at hospital.inclusion@latrobe.edu.au.


Study Opportunity

Undergraduate Certificate of Health Care Essentials

The Undergraduate Certificate of Health Care Essentials develops knowledge and skills in client care, such as understanding different healthcare settings and roles, considering diverse care needs, and improving client safety and developing future career community innovations.

This course is delivered fully online, combining the quality of a Monash University qualification, with the flexibility required by working professionals or those with caring responsibilities.

Whether you’re looking to start your career in the care sector, expand your skills, or move into a senior role at work, this course will equip you to meet the diverse care needs of people in the local community. Monash University is offering study grants for this course, so students will not be required to pay a student contribution amount for enrolled units in 2023.

With an Undergraduate Certificate of Health Care Essentials, you may be eligible to apply for our Bachelor of Health Sciences.

For further information about the Undergraduate Certificate of Health Care Essentials

Visit: Undergraduate Certificate of Health Care Essentials - M0503 - Study at Monash.

You can also contact us by phone at 1800 MONASH and email future@monash.edu.



Carers’ experience of residential respite for older people

Austin Health, in partnership with the National Ageing Research Institute, is recruiting carers to better understand the experience of all people utilising aged care respite and the impacts this may have on the care recipient’s health.

Families and/or carers of people who have used residential aged care respite are invited to participate by completing a 10–30-minute interview (by phone or video conference) or completing an online survey. 

If you or someone you know would be interested in being interviewed, please feel free to contact the research team via email MCRU.Recruitment@austin.org.au


Development of New Resource

In Sickness and in Health

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is developing a new resource called 'In Sickness and in Health' to help prevent unwanted sexual demands experienced by some carers of people living with dementia.

OPAN is keen to speak with the carers of people living with dementia to provide them with information about support services available, help to connect with these services, and conduct confidential interviews to document their experiences. The information gathered from these interviews will then be used to develop resources to help other carers and educate service providers.

If you would like to participate in this project, contact the #ReadyToListen Project Coordinator, Dr Catherine Barrett. Dr Barrett will ask you about your experiences and how support can be provided, contact support services on your behalf (confidentially if necessary), and ask if you would be willing to participate in a confidential interview to document your experiences.

You can reach Dr Barrett by phone at 0429 582 237 or by email at director@celebrateageing.org.



Carers have expressed that they would like to hear more about job opportunities, and we have heard you. As part of our role to support carers, we will now be including a Jobs Board which will operate as a convenient and easy-to-use platform for you to explore employment opportunities that are relevant to you and across various geographic locations. This is the inaugural launch of Carer’s Victoria’s first Job Board and we update this with every edition of the Voice.



Accor has created a recruitment program called “Work Your Way”, which offers multiple employment opportunities across Victoria that are flexible for carers.