About the Office of the Public Guardian

The Public Guardian is an independent role appointed under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 (the Act). This means that the Public Guardian’s decisions and actions are independent of the Government.

What is the Public Guardian?

The Public Guardian’s role is set out in section 15 of the Act.

In summary the role is:

  • Promoting and protecting the rights of any person with disability in Tasmania
  • Safeguarding adults with disability from abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • Advocating on behalf of people with a disability
  • Fostering and supporting services that assist people with disability
  • Acting as guardian when appointed to do so by the Guardianship and Administration Board
  • Investigating and reporting to the Minister for Justice about matters relating to the Act

The Public Guardian can investigate concerns about the actions of private guardians. This also includes people acting under an enduring power of attorney (section 17).

Who is the Public Guardian?

Jeremy Harbottle is Tasmania’s current Public Guardian. He has a small, but specialist team to support people when the Public Guardian is their guardian. The team also provide advice on related matters.

The Office currently has a staffing of 9.22 (Full Time Equivalent) staff.

What does the Public Guardian do?

The staff of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) assist the work of the Public Guardian and help to perform the key roles. In particular the guardians and senior guardians in the office:

  • Support or make decisions on behalf of a person for whom the Public Guardian is appointed as guardian
  • Advocate for the rights and interests of people under guardianship and adults living with disability

The OPG can provide information and advice about:

  • Guardianship and administration
  • Appointing enduring guardians
  • Private guardianship
  • What the options are if things are not working properly or there are concerns about the safety and well-being of a person with a disability

The OPG also provides information and education to community groups and service providers about the law and substitute and supported decision-making in Tasmania.  More information is available on the education page.

Updated: 11th May 2022