An informal carer provides ongoing and unpaid care or assistance to another person. Informal carers are often family members, friends or neighbours.
Informal carers are an important part of everyday life for many people who live with disability.
Care and support networks that involve informal carers play a critical role in community services provision. This is especially so for frail aged and younger people living with disability in the community.
There are currently two main sources for data about informal carers among Indigenous Australians:
- The Disability Services National Minimum Data Set contains detailed data about informal carers from the National Disability Agreement (NDA) service users. However, from 1 July 2013, state and territory-based disability support services provided under the NDA have been progressively transitioned over to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), meaning that this data set has limited coverage.
- The Census of Population and Housing (Census) collects information about informal carers including their demographic characteristics, but has fewer details about informal care relationships.
In 2018–19, of the 3,483 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander NDA service users who provided details about informal care, 74% (2,584) received assistance from an informal carer.
Of the people for whom primary carer status was known, the majority stated that their informal carer was also their primary carer (88%, or 2,021 people) (Figure DB 7).
A majority (59% or 1,353) of Indigenous NDA service users with informal carers for whom the relationship was known were being cared for by their mothers (Figure DB 8).
In 2016, an estimated 58,541 Indigenous Australians (or 15%) were informal carers for others living with disability. The age group with the highest proportion of informal carers was 45–54 years (Figure DB 9).