Culturally and linguistically diverse carers

Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) carers provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who are frail aged.

According to the 2011 Census, there were 1,896,855 people aged 15 years or older providing unpaid assistance to a person with a disability, long-term illness or problems related to old age [1]. This equates to nearly 11% of the Australian population aged 15 years and above.

However, it is likely that this figure is conservative due to the under-reporting of carer status, a lack of self-identification, misinterpretation of questions, or non-response. The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2009 estimated that there were 2,628,700 carers of any age in Australia, equating to 12.2% of the Australian population [2].

Click here for an extensive list of resources available for CALD carers across the country.

What is meant by the term ‘culturally and linguistically diverse’?

People from ‘culturally and linguistically diverse’ backgrounds refer to those from Australia’s non-Indigenous cultural groups other than the English-speaking Anglo-Celtic majority.

What percentage of carers in Australia are from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds?

It is estimated that between 25 - 30% of carers in Australia are from CALD backgrounds. Between 543,404 [1] and 652,600 [2] carers were born outside Australia or migrated to Australia.

What are the top 10 countries of origin outside of Australia, for carers living in Australia?

  1. England (92,161);
  2. New Zealand (38,922);
  3. China (27,659);
  4. Italy (26,376);
  5. India (23,302);
  6. Vietnam (18,307);
  7. Greece (15,834);
  8. Philippines (13,297);
  9. Scotland (13,134); and
  10. Germany (12,516) [1]

What are the top 10 languages other than English spoken by carers in Australia?

  1. Italian (45,608);
  2. Greek (35,131);
  3. Arabic (30,402);
  4. Mandarin (23,234);
  5. Cantonese (21,376);
  6. Vietnamese (17,086);
  7. Spanish (10,084);
  8. Hindi (8,533);
  9. Macedonian (8,185); and
  10. German (7,933) [1]

The most common languages spoken by carers and their country of origin differs throughout Australia in line with the varying demographics found across the country.

What percentage of carers do not speak English well, or at all?

It is estimated that 3% of carers in Australia do not speak English well, or at all [1].

Which areas in Australia have a high proportion of CALD carers?

In 2011, the following areas had more than 10,000 carers who spoke a language other than English at home: Brisbane, Fairfield, Blacktown, Brimbank, and Bankstown [1].

The areas that had more than1,000 carers who did not speak English well, or at all were: Fairfield, Brisbane, Brimbank, Bankstown, Canterbury, Greater Dandenong, Liverpool, Parramatta, Hume, Auburn, Blacktown, Moreland, Whittlesea, Monash, and Darebin [1].

What are the key issues for CALD carers?

  • Different interpretation or lack of awareness of the term ‘carer’ and available carer supports;
  • lack of identification as a carer by professionals, and subsequent lack of referrals due to the perceptions made about the carer's role in their family;
  • lesser uptake of Centrelink carer payments, benefits and concessions;
  • problems with the cultural appropriateness of assessment processes and eligibility criteria;
  • lack of choice between mainstream and culturally-specific carer services, such as respite, carer counselling, and support groups;
  • concerns about the cultural appropriateness and competency of services;
  • lack of individual and systemic advocacy;
  • lack of involvement in service planning, implementation and evaluation;
  • lack of availability of bilingual and culturally and linguistically diverse staff;
  • lack of carer information and resources translated into different languages; and
  • issues relating to the quality of interpretation services.

What culturally-specific services are available for carers through the Carer Associations?

The network of Carer Associations can arrange for some translation and interpretation services.




Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2011.


Australian Bureau of Statistics, Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, 2009.


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