Guardianship reforms improve safeguards for vulnerable Queenslanders

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

Substantial reforms to strengthen Queensland’s guardianship system have taken effect today, giving greater protection to the more vulnerable in our community such as the elderly and those with impaired capacity.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said the new reforms make Queensland’s guardianship laws clearer, improve the efficiency of our guardianship system and have a more modern human rights focus.

“A significant change is the new improved enduring power of attorney and advance health directive forms replacing versions which had been in use for more than 16 years,” Ms Fentiman said.

“New Guidelines for the Assessment of Capacity will also provide assistance to those who are required to assess a person’s decision-making capacity, such as health professionals.

“We have worked closely on the design and content of the forms with a range of stakeholders to make them simple and more user-friendly, and new explanatory guides will assist with completing the forms.”

The Attorney-General said strengthening the safeguards for adults with impaired capacity in the guardianship system, and enhancing service delivery and access to justice services for vulnerable people, were key State Government priorities.

“By implementing these legislative reforms we’re helping reduce risks to people with impaired capacity, including older people, of financial abuse and exploitation by strengthening safeguards in Queensland’s guardianship legislation,” she said.

Other significant amendments include:

– changes to the general principles and health care principles that underpin Queensland’s guardianship legislation – so they will be more consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Human Rights Act 2019;

– clarifying and extending the current powers that the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) can exercise where an attorney or administrator breaches their duties or obligations – to improve accessibility to redress for victims of financial abuse;

– a statutory exception to ademption – to ensure that a beneficiary is not deprived of their entitlement under a will, just because the property they were entitled to was sold or disposed of by an attorney or administrator while the will maker was alive; and

– providing QCAT with the jurisdiction to appoint administrators for missing adults.

The amendments implement a number of recommendations from the Queensland Law Reform Commission’s review of Queensland’s guardianship laws.

Further information about the changes to guardianship laws is available at https://www.qld.gov.au/guardianship-reform

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