Palaszczuk Government to reform Guardianship laws

Published Tuesday, 05 September, 2017 at 12:57 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice and Minister for Training and Skills
The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

Reforms to guardianship laws introduced in Parliament today will deliver a stronger, safer and simpler system to protect Queensland’s most vulnerable people.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath today introduced the Guardianship and Administration and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 which contained a raft of reforms to the guardianship system.

“Issues of guardianship will affect most of us in some form or another during our lives,” Mrs D’Ath said.

“While Queensland’s current guardianship rules are working well, we must stay ahead of the community’s changing needs to ensure our laws continue to effectively serve those with impaired capacity.

“These reforms will enhance safeguards for adults with impaired capacity, and improve the efficiency and clarity of Queensland’s guardianship system,” Mrs D’Ath said.

Mrs D’Ath said the reforms would implement a number of recommendations from various reports to government, including the Queensland Law Reform Commission’s Review of Queensland’s Guardianship Laws, and thereport of the Inquiry into the adequacy of existing financial protections for Queensland seniors by the Communities, Disability Services and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Committee.

The bill also incorporates elements of the Queensland: an age-friendly community action plan.

Specifically, the reforms include:

  • improving the financial remedies available to adults whose administrators, guardians or attorneys have failed to comply with their duties under guardianship legislation;
  • the introduction of a statutory exception to ademption to stop gifts of specific property or items in wills from failing – that is, if a property is sold or disposed of before a person’s death, the intended beneficiary of that item will still benefit from the residual estate;
  • allowing QCAT to appoint an administrator to exercise financial decision-making powers on behalf of a missing person; and 
  • measures to ensure Queensland’s guardianship legislation is more consistent with contemporary practice and human rights.

Some of the other reforms that will enhance safeguards for adults with impaired capacity include:

  • requiring QCAT, when carrying out its functions or powers under the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000, to seek and take into account the views, wishes and preferences of the adult and their support network, to the greatest extent practicable;
  • strengthening the eligibility requirements for an attorney under an enduring power of attorney, so that they must have capacity for a matter and must not have been a paid carer for the principal (the adult) in the previous three years; and
  • clarifying the capacity needed for an adult to execute an advance health directive or an enduring power of attorney.

“These reforms follow extensive stakeholder consultation with legal, medical and disability advocacy organisations and I would like to thank those organisations for their insight and input,” Mrs D’Ath said.

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