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Department of the Attorney General
Annual Report 2015/16
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Agency Performance

Advocacy, Guardianship and Administration Services

Office of the Public Advocate

The Office of the Public Advocate protects and promotes the human rights of adults with a decision-making disability through the functions given to the Public Advocate under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990.

These vulnerable members of the community may face the risk of exploitation, abuse and neglect. The Office works to reduce these risks by providing services including:

  • investigations into the need for guardianship and/or administration orders for adults with a decision-making disability
  • guardian of last resort, that is the legal decision-maker for personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions, for adults with a decision-making disability
  • information, advice and training regarding the guardianship and administration system and the documents adults can use to plan for their future decision-making, as a safeguard in the event they lose decision-making capacity.

Outcomes 2015/16

In 2015/16, the Office of the Public Advocate’s main objectives were to:

  • meet the growing demand for advocacy and investigation services
  • meet the growing demand for guardianship services
  • deliver community education regarding the guardianship and administration system and the planning documents - enduring powers of attorney, enduring powers of guardianship and advance health directives.

Throughout the year, the Office continued to promote and protect the human rights of adults with a decision-making disability.

In 2015/16 the Office of the Public Advocate:

  • Undertook 1,516 investigations into the personal or financial welfare of adults with a decision-making disability, representing an increase of five per cent from the previous year. These included new matters and matters carried over from 2014/15.

  • Was newly appointed as guardian of last resort for 468 people, compared to 423 in 2014/15, an increase of 11 per cent.

  • Made personal, lifestyle and treatment decisions for a total of 2,350 people, compared to 2,154 people in the previous financial year.

  • Was guardian for 1,555 people at 30 June 2016, compared to 1,383 people at 30 June 2015. This is an increase of 12 per cent, consistent with a 13 per cent increase in the previous financial year.

  • Delivered a total of 26 community education seminars across the State, regarding the guardianship and administration system, the legislation and the planning documents available to people under the legislation.

  • Addressed 5,324 enquiries via its advisory service.

The Office’s community guardianship program aims to match adults who have the Public Advocate appointed as their guardian, with volunteers from the community, who are willing and able to take over the role as guardian.

At 30 June 2016, 18 volunteers were engaged in the program, 14 of whom were appointed as guardian for their represented person.

Changes to the disability sector, brought about by the State Government’s 2013 agreement to join the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), continued to impact the Office in 2015/16.

A number of the Office’s clients who receive disability support, including accommodation and services, and are under 65 years of age, were affected by the scheme. Delegated guardians from the Office worked with NDIS staff throughout the year in the development and approval of NDIS support plans.

The scheme will be evaluated during the 2016/17 financial year and there are plans to expand the scheme beyond the initial trial sites.

Any expansion to the scheme will be negotiated between the State and Commonwealth Governments.


Last updated: 27-Sep-2016

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