Carers – Overview


Carers are people who provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged.

Carers are an integral part of Australia’s health system and are the foundation of our aged, disability, palliative and community care systems.

Caring may include help and support in any of the daily activities of the person being cared for.  It may include physical and personal care and assistance such as dressing, lifting, showering, feeding or providing transport.

Commonly, carers are responsible for the management of medications.  Carers provide emotional, social or financial support.  Caring may also involve helping the person they are caring for to be organised, reminding them to attend appointments and dealing with emergencies.

Australia has over 2.7 million carers, 12% of the population. The chances are you personally are a carer, need a carer or know a carer.

Reference: Dept Social Services – Supporting Carers

See also, Health Decisions – Overview for more information about understanding the ways health decisions can be made, and the roles of supporters.

Gillick Competency or the “Mature Minor” (UNDER 18)

Gillick competence is a term used to decide whether a child is able to consent to his or her own medical treatment, without the need for parental permission or knowledge. Patients under the age of 18 who are determined to be ‘Gillick competent’ or a ‘mature minor’ can consent to their own medical treatment.

The child or young person must have a “sufficient understanding and intelligence to enable him or her to fully understand what is proposed. It would depend on what medical treatment is being proposed.

An informed consent can be said to have been given based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the facts, implications, and consequences of an action. Adequate informed consent is rooted in respecting a person’s dignity.

A child who is deemed “Gillick competent” is able to prevent their parents viewing their medical records. As such, medical staff will not make a disclosure of medical records of a child who is deemed “Gillick competent”.

Reference: RACGP – Children and Consent for Medical Treatment

Statutory Health Attorney (AGED 18 OR OLDER)

A statutory health attorney is someone with automatic authority to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are an adult whose capacity to make health care decisions is permanently or temporarily impaired.

A statutory health attorney will make decisions about your health care if you are too ill or incapable of making them. For example, consent may be needed for medical treatment or an operation while you are unconscious. Or you may have an intellectual disability, dementia or an acquired brain injury and may be unable to make your own decisions.

A statutory health attorney will act if you have not: OPG Factsheet – Statutory Health Attorney

See also our page Substitute Decision Making

Mental Health Carers

Qld Health Clinical frameworks

Consumer, Carer and Family Participation Framework

The Consumer, Carer and Family Participation Framework provides a guide to adopting a consumer-driven, recovery-oriented, and carer and family inclusive mental health service model. The framework provides direction to mental health services across the state regarding enhancing consumer and carer participation at a local level. Caring for a person experiencing… Reference and to find out more, go to signs of mental illness.

Information and Help for Carers

Carer Gateway – A one Stop Carer Resource – The national website Carer Gateway is full of information for practical tips and support to help you in your role as a carer. The Carer Gateway is all about meeting your needs as a carer.

Queensland Government – For information and links to help for mental health carers in Qld

Carers Queensland – Carers Qld advocate for equal rights, opportunities, and enhanced outcomes for families.
  • Mental Health Resources and links
  • Guardianship & Advocacy (GAP) Where appropriate, Carers Queensland can help you and your family navigate the legal and administrative systems designed to resolve such issues through their Guardianship & Advocacy (GAP) program. GAP assists family carers who are experiencing difficulties in their role of caring for an adult with reduced decision-making capacity.
Mental Health Carers Australia – Mental Health Carers Australia is the national peak advocacy group solely concerned with the well-being and promotion of the needs of mental health carers.

ARAFMI Qld provides support for carers of people with mental health issues.

My Mental Health – My Mental Health is a website that offers information on:
  • How to stay healthy
  • How to access primary mental health care (nthn Brisbane)
  • Find a mental health service in the community
  • Going to and leaving hospital
  • Find a specialised service
  • Newsletters, online carer forums and more.

Wellways website has a wide range of helpful resources based on research and lived experience expertise, including information sheetspeer education programscommunity education workshops and personal stories of mental health and recovery.

Our information, education programs and services are tailored to the needs of individuals, families and the wider community. It is important to find ways of learning that meet your needs and that are right for you. Look at: I am Family, Friend, or Carer

Mamre is a Brisbane based non-profit organisation supporting families with a son or daughter with a disability.

Disability Law Qld (DLQ) DLQ is a non-profit law firm that assists people with disability and their families to plan for the future, assert their rights and access justice.

Richmond Fellowship Qld (RFQ) Richmond Fellowship Queensland (RFQ): supports people through recovery-orientated models, with various funding programs including NDIS, mental health service, or pay for service. RFQ support people to develop personal recovery plans that reflect what they want more out of in life and into the future.

Lived Experience Australia – Practical guide for working with carers of people with a mental illness

Metro North – Information for Family and Carers

Qld Law Handbook – Right to information

Qld Health – Clinical Guidelines

For more contacts see our page Mental Health Services and Contacts

Centrelink Payments for Carers

Income Support Payment

You may be eligible for an income support payment if you give constant care to someone who has a severe disability, illness, or an adult who is frail and aged. Eligibility basics
  • you’re caring for 1 or more people with care needs which score high enough on the assessment tools used for an adult or child
  • they’ll have these needs for at least 6 months or the rest of their life
  • you’re eligible under the pension income and assets test limits
  • you and your carer receiver must both be residing in Australia

Carer Allowance

A fortnightly supplement if you give additional daily care to someone who has a disability, serious illness, or is frail aged.

Eligibility basics

  • you give additional daily care to someone who has a disability, severe illness or is frail aged
  • their care needs score high enough on the assessment tools used for an adult or a child
  • they’ll have these needs for at least 12 months or the rest of their life
  • you meet an income test
Payments that may be available to you: Reference and for more information


Carers Queensland is partnering with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to deliver the Local Area Coordinator Partners in the Community Program, working to ensure more people live fulfilling and connected lives.

See also our page NDIS – Overview

Short Term Accommodation (formerly termed respite)

Wesley Mission Queensland

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