26 September 2023

New safeguards for vulnerable citizens

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Queensland’s guardianship system has undergone significant reform with new measures bringing greater protection to vulnerable members of the community such as the elderly and those with impaired capacity.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Shannon Fentiman said the reforms made guardianship laws clearer, improved the efficiency of the guardianship system and had a more modern, human-rights focus.

Ms Fentiman said that among the changes were improved enduring power of attorney and advance health directive forms replacing versions which had been in use for more than 16 years.

“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,” Ms Fentiman said.

“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 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 guardianship legislation, making them more consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In addition, the current powers that the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal could exercise where an attorney or administrator breaches their duties or obligations had been clarified to improve accessibility to redress for victims of financial abuse.

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