VOICE - News

Welcome to the April edition of The Voice

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, now is the perfect time to sign up for our Membership program to gain access to a range of exclusive offers and discounts at major retailers. Membership is free for carers and supporters. Find out more below.

Face-to-face workshops for carers and professionals are officially back and we can’t wait to wait to see your faces in person again. Workshops can take place at our office or we can arrange to come to you.

The COVID-19 Vaccine rollout continues in Victoria, and the Government has released a number of useful resources to help you understand your eligibility for the vaccine, and when you can be vaccinated. Read the digest below.  

We are now taking expressions of interest for two of our popular wellbeing programs: Carer Wellbeing and Connection, and Mind the Step. Keep reading to find out if you are eligible.  

Happy reading
The Carers Victoria Team


Join our Caring Community

Have you joined our Caring Community? It’s free to join for carers and supporters, and you’ll get access to a range of benefits including exclusive invitations to events, opportunities to champion real change and special member offers.

Join up today to access our members-only Club Shopper program and get discounts on a range of great brands for Mother’s Day including The Good Guys, Booktopia and Freedom.

Join Now


COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

COVID-19 vaccinations are currently rolling out across Australia. Unpaid carers are eligible for vaccines under phase 1B (the current rollout phase). To confirm your eligibility, fill out the eligibility checker here.

The Australian Government has recently released vaccine information in accessible formats - Easy Read and Auslan. This accessible content covers questions such as what is the vaccine, who can get it, where, and what to expect. You can find it here.

Further information about the COVID-19 vaccines for people with disability can be found here.

For general information about the rollout visit the Department of Health website.


Update: Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System

Last month, the Victorian government released the Final Report from the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System. Carers Victoria has since developed a summary analysis of the Final Report, including what we like and what can be improved to better support the mental health of all carers.

Our analysis gives a snapshot of the new proposed mental health system and explains the three key recommendations for carers:

  • Recommendation 30: Developing system-wide involvement of family members and carers;
  • Recommendation 31: Supporting families, carers and supporters; and
  • Recommendation 32: Supporting young carers.

Carers Victoria was pleased to see an overall vision in the Final Report of a system that says "How can we help?". The Commission identifies the expertise of carers and that this has been neglected. The vision for the new system will see carers being recognised and valued, as well as supported both in their role as a carer and in their own right. 

To read the summary analysis, click here.       

 


Face-to-Face Workshops are Back

Ready to book a workshop for carers or your staff?  Our education team is now taking bookings for face-to-face workshops in our offices or yours. Visit our website [link] to find out what’s on offer or email your enquiry to education@carersvictoria.org.au

Keen to stay online? Zoom workshops are still taking place. Find out more here


Changes to Victorian Rental Rules 

More than 130 reforms to Victorian rental rules have recently been introduced. These include changes relating to eviction, capping rent increases, minimum standards for rental properties, ending discrimination and urgent repairs.

The key changes for tenants to understand are:

 

Eviction:

Renters can no longer be evicted for no reason. A “valid reason” is required which may be the property being sold, change of use or the owner moving back in. As a renter, you are allowed to challenge a “Notice to Vacate” if you don’t think the reason is valid.

 

Minimum Standards:

Owners must ensure the property meets “minimum standards” which includes cleanliness, security and privacy.

 

Urgent Repairs:

When a property fails to meet minimum standards, renters can request an “urgent repair” for situations such as a broken cooling appliance, mould, pest infestation or malfunctioning smoke alarm.

 

Rent Increases:

Rent can only be increased once a year.

 

Discrimination:

It is against the law for owners to discriminate against renters based on personal attributes such as age, race, sexuality, or disability.

 

No Deception:

Rental properties can only be offered at a fixed price (no “bidding”). Owners cam no longer mislead someone to enter into a rental agreement.

 

Basic Modifications:

As a tenant, you can now make basic modifications to the rental property including installing child safety devices or replacing curtains. Other modifications that an owner can’t “unreasonably refuse” include putting in a vegetable or herb garden, installing security systems or flyscreens and painting.

 

Family violence:

Tenants experiencing family violence are now able to change or terminate their rental agreement, and won’t be held liable for damages in some circumstances.

 

Overdue Rent:

If a tenant is more than 14 days overdue in rent payments, the owner can issue a “Notice to Vacate”, however if the tenant pays the overdue rent within 14 days, this Notice is invalidated. 


Midsumma Festival

After being delayed due to the pandemic, the Midsumma queer arts and culture festival is on now and will continue until 5 May. Visit the virtual stalls map to find out more about a range of LGBTIQA+ supporting organisations and businesses, including Carers Victoria.

If in-person events are more your speed, visit the What’s On page to find upcoming events.


Young Carers Scholarship Awards

Thank you to the more than 60 young carers who applied for Young Carer Scholarships. Our Selection Panel is meeting soon and we will let all the young carers know the outcome of their application by 31 May 2021.

We would like to acknowledge all the remarkable young carers out there who contribute to their families and communities.


Carers Victoria Team News: Trans Day of Visibility

Trans Day of Visibility is an annual international celebration of trans pride and awareness, recognising trans and gender diverse experiences and achievements. On 31 March, the Carers Victoria team discussed the importance of Trans Day of Visibility over morning tea.

Carers Victoria is proud to be a Rainbow Tick accredited organisation and is committed to safe and inclusive practice and service delivery for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse and intersex consumers and staff.


VALE: Gweneth Elaine McCarthy

Carers Victoria would like to acknowledge the life and generosity of Gweneth Elaine McCarthy (nee Hornett).

Gwen was member number nine and a founding member of Carers Victoria. She served as a Carers Victoria Board member from 1994 – 2000 and was an Honorary Member of Carers Victoria until her passing. We would like to extend our condolences to Gwen’s husband Peter and family and acknowledge the extraordinary contribution Gwen made to Carers Victoria as an organisation and ultimately for carers.

May she rest in peace knowing her work continues to inspire us today as we work together to make carers lives better.

Gweneth Elaine McCarthy 8 August 1930 – 4 July 2020

 

 

Welcome to The Voice

The Easter break is fast approaching, but things are not slowing down here at Carers Victoria.

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has now commenced and alongside our national peak body, Carers Australia, Carers Victoria has been advocating for carers to be prioritised in the rollout. Scroll down to find out more about when you can receive your vaccine.

This month we attended the Joint Sitting of Parliament for the tabling of the Final Report from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. To find out more about the recommendations from this report, read on. 

If you get some spare time this long weekend, be sure to check out the workshops we have coming up. You can find a list for April below, or visit our website

Please note our office will be closed on the Good Friday and Easter Monday public holidays and will re-open on Tuesday 6 April. 

We hope you have a relaxing long weekend. 


The 2020 Annual Review Has Landed

The year 2020 brought “unprecedented” challenges for carers. The COVID-19 pandemic and a shifting carer services landscape saw Carers Victoria having to quickly shift the ways we work and provide services for carers.

The 2020 Annual Review is a time capsule of the year that was, and a celebration of what we achieved for carers. It also includes several carer stories from our Truly Incredible Care campaign.

You can listen to our Interim CEO Sue Peden AM and Chair of the Board Callum Ingram discussing the Annual Review by clicking here.

Get your copy of the 2020 Annual Review here.


COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Update  

Last week the Department of Health released a webinar explaining the 1B phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, including the response for carers. You can watch it now here

The eligibility list for the COVID-19 Vaccine has been updated and now includes unpaid carers. To find out if you are eligible call 1800 020 080 or click here.

If you are a carer and are struggling to provide evidence of your caring role, you can now fill out a declaration form here.

For general information about the rollout click here.


Update: Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

Carers Victoria was proud to attend the Joint Sitting of Parliament for the tabling of the Final Report from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Commissioner Armytage acknowledged that the “views of families are too often dismissed”. The new mental health system will be one where “consumers, families and carers will lead and partner in reform”.

Chair of the Expert Advisory Panel Professor McGorry stated the report contains “strong recommendations for families and carers” as “families are often the only safety net” for people experiencing mental illness.

Premier Daniel Andrews again reiterated that the government would implement all of the recommendations made by the Commission. Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said that in their lifetime “every Victorian will either have a mental illness or care for someone that does.”

The Commission acknowledged the diversity of care relationships. Including caring across the lifespan, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carers, culturally and linguistically diverse carers and LGBTIQA+ carers.

Carers Victoria welcomes the three recommendations focused on families, carers and supporters. We are greatly encouraged that the Commission has recognised carers throughout its duration and this is reflected in the report. We look forward to working together to creating the mental health system articulated in this report.

To download the full report click here


Join our Caring Community: Become a Member Today

Carers Victoria is re-launching its membership program for carers, former carers and supporters. There are a number of great reasons to join our caring community, including:

  • Exclusive invitations to events and workshops;
  • Special offers and discounts;
  • Championing the voice of carers;
  • Free sign-up for individuals.

Sign up to be the first to hear about events such as our recent Members Family Day at Melbourne Zoo, which saw around 400 carers and family members gather for a fun day out and opportunity to socialise with other caring families.

Members also get exclusive access to our ClubShopper program for discounts on a number of major brands including The Good Guys, Freedom Furniture, Booktopia and Pharmacy Online.

If you’re an existing member and would like to sign up for ClubShopper email membership@carersvictoria.org.au

Become a member here.


Young Carer Scholarship: Applications Now Open

Applications for Carers Victoria Young Carer Scholarships are now open.

Do you know a young person with caring responsibilities? Over 71,600 young people in Victoria are believed to have significant care responsibilities. Many are at risk of dropping out of school, or have difficulty establishing social networks and participating in activities that their peers enjoy.

Carers Victoria's Young Carer scholarships give young carers attending secondary school the opportunity to be acknowledged for their contributions to their family and the community and to participate in school or community based activities that enhance their skills and educational achievement, or that help them to participate more fully in their community.

If you know a young carer, encourage them to apply here.


Supporting Carers to Succeed in Australian Higher Education

A new report by La Trobe University recommends a strengths-based approach to supporting university student carers. The report is the result of research, conducted in collaboration with Carers Victoria, which explored the motivations, perceived challenges, and self-identified strengths of university student carers.

The research found a quarter of student carers never disclosed their carer status to anyone at university. This shows the importance of increasing awareness and understanding of carers within the university community.

“[I was] trying to present myself well on placements to educators who may not fully know or understand my role as a carer and judge my fatigue/tiredness as poor effort or knowledge deficit.” – Student carer.

There are clear grounds to establish student carers as a priority group within Australian higher education.

Further efforts to recognise and support carers could include developing consistent means of identifying carers at application or enrolment, and an increase in carer-specific support, such as the establishment of online peer support groups.

Universities could develop more inclusive campus climates, in which the strengths of carers can be recognised and harnessed. Carers offer many skills and attributes which are desirable to universities, as exemplified in this quote.

“Other students have benefitted from my heightened empathy, as I will always offer assistance, even when it isn't asked for. Other staff, lecturers and tutors have benefitted from my resilience and confidence, as I will offer my insight for the class when others are shy.” – Student carer

Read the full report here.


Mind the Step: April Dates Now Available

Are you caring for a friend or family member?

Are you feeling uncertain, stressed or anxious?

Do you want to feel more connected?

Let’s talk.

Carers Victoria is delivering Mind the Step, a FREE four-week online program for carers who feel they would benefit from building their personal resilience and connecting with others in similar situations. The program is facilitated by qualified counsellors via Zoom for 90 minutes each week to support carers in Western Victoria.  Participant numbers are kept small to provide a safe and supportive environment.

If you’d like to enrich your mental health and wellbeing, build awareness or resources and support services and feel more empowered as a carer, register your interest for Mind the Step. The program is for anyone living in Western Victoria who is in a caring role.

To learn more about the program click here


New Accessible Parking Permit Scheme

From 22 March, a new Accessible Parking Permit scheme will be introduced across Victoria. The new scheme is designed to create fairer outcomes and free up accessible parking bays for the people who need them the most.

The main changes for drivers with disabilities or injuries are that:

  • You’ll need to start the application or renewal process online, before you visit the doctor
  • Accessible parking permits will be extended from three to five years
  • People with permanent disabilities will no longer need to be re-assessed in the future

Visit accessibleparking.vic.gov.au for more information about the change or for help in completing your application.


COVID-19 Support Package for Mental Health Carers

Tandem is partnering with Merri Health to deliver Carer Gateway COVID-19 Mental Health packages to carers supporting family and friends with mental health challenges.

Packages are targeted to carers who are not eligible to receive the Area Mental Health Services Carer Support Fund and who are not receiving services from the Victorian Support for Carers program.

The Program can provide relief for food, fuel or equipment such as a laptop.

All COVID-19 Mental Health Packages are linked to the Carer Gateway and Tandem will make a referral to the Carer Gateway on your behalf.

To find out more or to make a referral contact Tandem on 1800 314 325.


In the News: Improving Communication with your Child’s Specialists and Therapists

Having clear communication between you and your child’s therapist can have huge impacts on your child’s development, and make life much easier for you as a carer. Source Kids have put together a guide of practical things you can do to improve communication and your relationship with your child’s therapist.   

Read the article here.

Did you know Carers Victoria regularly runs a workshop on communicating with professionals? Keep an eye on our training calendar to find out when the next session will run here.

Image: Source Kids