Second 'citizen's jury' to develop new carer's strategy for Canberra
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Second 'citizen's jury' to develop new carer's strategy for Canberra

A second "citizen's jury" will be held in Canberra to develop a strategy to better support carers, trialling a different model of deliberative democracy to the one announced last week to debate compulsory third-party insurance.

Carers ACT and Democracy Co will run the $50,000 panel, which will include 60 people, two-thirds of whom will be carers from Canberra.

Eighteen-year-old carer Chantelle Pellegrini, Carers ACT chief executive Lisa Kelly and Community Services Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith talk about a new panel which will be convened to nut out a new carers strategy.

Eighteen-year-old carer Chantelle Pellegrini, Carers ACT chief executive Lisa Kelly and Community Services Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith talk about a new panel which will be convened to nut out a new carers strategy.Credit:Katie Burgess

Panel members will find new ways to support the ACT's 46,000 carers in two workshops in October, the results of which Community Services Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said the government would accept in principle.

"Quite often we always engage stakeholder and the community in those policy development processes but usually we do a survey or we might do some forums, we might do a town hall, there's a whole range of different ways we've engaged in the past," Ms Stephen-Smith said.

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"We haven't done this really deep dive workshopping activity with a group of people who come together once to get the information and come together again to make a collective decision about the recommendations they're going to make to the government, in this case about what a carer-friendly city would look like and their vision for the future."

Like the citizen jurors who will also come together in October to discuss a new compulsory third party insurance scheme for the ACT, panel members will also be paid for their time.

This panel is different to the jury in that it calls for potential members to put their hands up for it and requires at least some to be carers.

In contrast, about 6000 invitations for the CTP jury will be randomly mailed out, from which jurors register their interest and are recruited to best fit the demographic profile of the ACT.

The success of this panel could also redefine how the ACT involves citizens in policy formation.

Carers ACT chief executive Lisa Kelly said more needed to be done to address problems faced by carers, including a lack of flexibility in the workplace and social isolation.

"They're the backbone of our disability, aged care and even our health systems so we need to be able to support them, we ned to be able to scaffold them and hold them up to be able to support the people they care for," Ms Kelly said.

She said bringing carers together to find a way forward would be "powerful".

Eighteen-year-old Chantelle Pellegrini has been caring for her mother, who suffers from chronic pain and mental illness, since she was a year 7 student.

Miss Pellegrini said young carers in particular needed flexibility for work and study, and welcomed the chance to help define how carers are supported in the future.

"I get quite stressed really easy so if there was someone to support me and tell me everything will be okay and help me to balance my day out that would be really beneficial," Miss Pellegrini said.

"There's definitely been times where I haven't been able to go out with my friends or have some downtime because I've had to care for my mum. It's unfortunate but its my life."

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She said other young carers should "stay strong" and always access the support that's available to them.

You can register interest in the Carers Voice Panel here.

Katie Burgess is a reporter for the Canberra Times, covering ACT politics.

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