Each State and Territory has a public body that can be appointed guardian for a person with impaired capacity, when no other suitable person is available to take on that role.

Guardianship involves making life and health decisions. Financial and property decisions will fall under the responsibility of an administrator or manager, which may be one of the public trustees.

As public advocates and guardians are familiar with the problems that people with impaired decision making ability encounter, these bodies often engage in systemic advocacy to better protect vulnerable people.

Office of the Public Advocate Australian Capital Territory

The role of the Public Advocate of the ACT is to further the interests, rights and dignity of children, young people and adults that are in a situation that makes them vulnerable to exploitation, abuse or neglect.

The Public Advocate can be appointed by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribuna l, or ACAT to act as guardian for those people who have ‘impaired capacity’ and for whom there is no-one else suitable or available to act as their guardian and make substitute decisions on their behalf.

The Public Advocate also undertakes advocacy for adults with a disability in need of protection.

Public Guardian of New South Wales

The Public Guardian of New South Wales is a statutory official who can be appointed by the NSW Guardianship Tribunal (or Supreme Court).

The Public Guardian can be appointed to make non-financial decisions on behalf of another person, who has a disability that affects their ability to make their own decisions and needs a decision to be made.

The NSW Guardianship Tribunal can review the appointment of Public Guardian of NSW as a person’s guardian.

The Administrative Decisions Tribunal New South Wales can review decisions made by the Public Guardian of NSW.

The Public Guardian also undertakes advocacy for people under guardianship orders.

Office of Public Guardian Northern Territory

The Office of Public Guardian, Northern Territory may be appointed by the Local Courts as guardian of the represented person.

If unhappy with the guardianship order, a represented person can apply to the Court for review.

The Court’s decision or determination may be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Office of the Adult Guardian Queensland

The Office of the Adult Guardian, Queensland is an independent government body, which can be appointed by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal as guardian for adults with impaired capacity, to make personal and health decisions and advocate on their behalf.

The Office of the Public Advocate in Queensland is a separate body tasked with protecting the rights, autonomy and participation of people with impaired decision making capacity.

The Public Advocate undertakes research and systemic advocacy to address structural challenges facing people with impaired capacity.

Office of the Public Advocate South Australia

The Office of the Public Advocate, South Australia is an independent statutory body intended to protect the interests, rights and dignity of people with disabilities, and offers a range of services to assist in this purpose.

The Guardianship Board, South Australia can appoint the Public Advocate as guardian, when no suitable person is available or willing.

The Public Advocate also undertakes advocacy for people with a mental incapacity and has promoted the use of supported decision making.

Office of the Public Guardian Tasmania

The Office of the Public Guardian, Tasmania is body intended to promote and protect the rights and interests of people with disabilities.

The Guardian and Administration Board can appoint the Public Guardian as a person’s guardian.

The Public Guardian undertakes advocacy for people with decision making disabilities in Tasmania, and engages with individuals and organisations that provide services to people with disabilities

Office of the Public Advocate Victoria

The Office of the Public Advocate, Victoria is an independent statutory body intended to protect the interests, rights and dignity of people with disabilities, and offers a range of services to assist in this purpose.

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal can appoint the Public Advocate to act as guardian for a person with impaired decision making capacity.

The Public Advocate undertakes advocacy for people with disabilities who are exploited, neglected or abused.

Office of the Public Advocate Western Australia

The Office of the Public Advocate, Western Australia is an independent statutory body intended to protect the interests, rights and dignity of people with disabilities that impact decision making ability.

The State Administrative Tribunal, Western Australia can appoint the Public Advocate to act as guardian for a person, in the absence of suitable friends or family members.

The Public Advocate can, on request, investigate the welfare of people with decision making disabilities, in order to advocate on their behalf.


Last Modified: June 27, 2013