Skip to main content
Australia Cares initiative

Australia Cares

Reimagining the ideas and practice of care throughout our society and the economy

We need new vision for care in Australia: one that places dignity, human relationships and agency at its heart. The aim of the Australia Cares program is to make care an equal part of national recovery and renewal alongside economic resilience and responding to climate change.

They say that a society is defined by how well it treats those most vulnerable. So what does it say about our society when our systems of care are at breaking point? 

Multiple royal commissions into aged care, disability, child abuse, mental health and the treatment of veterans have revealed the deep and endemic shortcomings of the care sector. Given the recommendations of such commissions, and the long-running advocacy of the sector, we already know many of the things that need to change. But change has not yet happened. 

The past three years have seen fires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic dominate our national attention. As Australia begins embarking on recovery, and looks towards a post-pandemic future, it must also be time for us to consider the long-delayed task of reforming care. 

We know that social change doesn’t happen quickly or easily. It requires not just a coalition of thinkers and practitioners – it demands attitudinal shifts in society. 

Our ambition 

Australia Cares is an ambitious new initiative from the Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney, supported by the Paul Ramsay Foundation. It has grown out of a broad and diverse coalition of people who recognise the need for a fundamental shift in the way that society views and practices care. 

Our ambition is to ensure systems of care in Australia are based on the values of agency and dignity. These values should be at the heart of the way care is conceived, funded and delivered.   

Our approach is based on co-design with people across the care sectors. During the past two years, the Sydney Policy Lab has been facilitating dialogues with care practitioners, managers and executives, economists, public policy experts, social innovators, campaigners, advocates and changemakers and of course care recipients. 

Based on these continuing dialogues, we are designing a series of collaborative projects that aim to: 

  • create a vision for placing care at the centre of a strong, resilient economy and a fair, sustainable society;
  • establish a more effective policy and investment framework; and
  • change practices in the design and delivery of care.

We know we need to strengthen relationships across sectors, build unlikely coalitions and make these changes together. We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the questions we ask, the process of seeking answers and together refashioning our care systems to care for all Australians.

This project was launched in March 2022, and is a two year plus program.

Research team: Professor Tim Soutphommasane, Professor Marc Stears, Associate Professor Luara Ferrocioli, Louise Beehag, Dr Juliet Bennett, Martin Stewart-Weeks

Project partners: Paul Ramsay Foundation

If you would like to learn more or get involved in this project, please contact us at policy.lab@sydney.edu.au