Protecting rights of older Canberrans

Australian Greens

The Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 introduced in the ACT Legislative Assembly today will look to make permanent some of the temporary amendments passed during the COVID-19 public health emergency and provide further protections against elder abuse.

Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said the amendments introduced today enhance the powers of the Public Trustee and Guardian and Public Advocate so that they can request records and assist in preventing abuse.

“This recognises the vulnerability of people who are dependent on others to assist them with financial transactions through a power of attorney, and the challenges they face in enforcing their rights where these powers are abused,” Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said

“Records of transactions can be requested from an attorney even where the person has capacity to make their own decisions. This change recognises that a person may still be vulnerable even if they have capacity but are dependent on an attorney to assist with their affairs.

“Complementary to these changes, the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal will also have the ability to make directions to revoke or suspend an enduring power of attorney where the person still has capacity.”

The amendments will also make permanent some changes introduced as temporary measures in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services Emma Davidson, who is responsible for the Government’s work supporting seniors and veterans, said the amendments will reduce the risk of elder abuse.

“These amendments will help protect the rights of senior Canberrans, including those who may be facing elder abuse,” Minister Davidson said.

“Senior Canberrans who are reliant on others to carry out important transactions on their behalf will be able to request records from their attorney, and these records can also be required to be produced the Public Trustee and Guardian or Public Advocate.

“An attorney will be required to keep proper records and to keep their property separate from the individual’s property, which will help to provide accountability about transactions they undertake.

“This will improve the ability of senior Canberrans to enforce their rights and reduce the risk of elder abuse.”

These amendments are consistent with the objectives of the National Plan to Respond to the Abuse of Older Australians (Elder Abuse) 2019-2023.

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