The Office of the Public Guardian promotes, speaks for, and protects the rights and interests of people with disabilities and acts as the guardian of people with disabilities when appointed by the Guardianship and Administration Board.
Part 3 of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1995 establishes the Office and gives the Public Guardian her/his powers and functions.
What is a Guardian?
- A Guardian makes decisions for you that are in your best interests.
- Your guardian will make decisions for you in the areas set out in the guardianship order.
- If you do not understand what this means or have not yet received a copy of this order, just speak to your guardian.
How will my Guardian make decisions?
- When asked to make a decision on your behalf, your Guardian may talk to you about what you would like. They may also talk to people who know you, such as your family or your doctor.
- A Guardian must act in your best interests, and take into account your wishes.
- A Guardian's job is to encourage and assist you to make reasonable judgments for yourself, and to help protect you from neglect, abuse and exploitation, and act as your advocate. This does not always mean your Guardian will agree with you.
- Your Guardian will act with respect, integrity, open-mindedness and will try to understand your individual needs.
Did you know?
If you are unhappy with the Order the Guardianship and Administration Board has made for you, you can ask the Board to tell you why they made it. This needs to be done within 21 days.
- You can contact the Board or write to them and ask for reasons for their decision at: GPO Box 1307, Hobart Tas 7001. We can also help you with this if you ask us.
- You can also ask the Board if they will review your order, especially if your circumstances change or you feel you no longer need a guardian.
If you are unhappy with a decision your Guardian makes, first speak to your Guardian about why they made the decision. You can ask your Guardian to write down the reasons for making a decision.
If you are still unhappy, you may contact the Public Guardian.
If you need more help:
- If you need someone to help you write to the Board or speak to your Guardian, you can ask a friend or a family member to talk to them for you or with you.
- You might also like to ask an advocate to help you, such as Advocacy Tasmania or Speak Out Advocacy.
- If you have other complaints you can contact the Ombudsman, the Health Complaints Commissioner or the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner.
If you have special needs around communication let us know.
The Guardianship and Administration Board can:
- make orders appointing a guardian or an administrator or both for an adult person with a disability who is unable to make reasonable judgements in respect of lifestyle and/or financial matters
- consent to medical treatment for persons with a disability incapable of giving an informed consent
- revoke or vary the terms of an enduring power of attorney
- make an order for the execution of a statutory will for a person who is incapable of making a will
You may visit the Guardianship and Administration Board's website for more information.
COVID-19: Message from the Public Guardian
My staff and I at the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) acknowledge that people all over our community will be feeling anxious and uncertain, but we want to assure everyone that the work of the OPG is continuing. We have made some minor modifications to the way we work, to ensure the safety of our clients, staff and the community in general.
- The OPG’s guardians are limiting face-to-face contact and meetings to situations where there is no risk to the represented person, staff and other parties. The guardians will continue to rely on phone and email for much of their work.
- Staff may continue to work part of the time from home but can still be contacted via the general office number.
The OPG’s after-hours emergency service continues to be available to service providers, for urgent decisions required by a guardian that cannot wait until the next business day, and for new emergency orders, that again cannot wait until the next business day. This service is available from 5.00pm to 11.00pm weekdays, and from 8.00am to 11.00pm on weekends and public holidays. The after-hours number is 6165 6767.
Service providers are advised that a guardian’s consent is not required to put in place restrictions to ensure the Government’s isolation directions and social distancing guidelines are met. However approvals for restrictive interventions to manage distressed behaviours arising out of social distancing and isolation directions are still required by the Disability Services Act 2011.
Finally, the OPG is concerned that the vulnerabilities of people with disabilities may be heightened at this time. We urge everyone in the community to be on the lookout for people with particular needs, and to treat each other with care, respect and kindness.
If you see, hear or otherwise become aware of a concerning situation involving a person with a disability who might not have the means to protect themselves, take action.
There are several agencies you may be able to report the matter to, including:
- Tasmanian Elder Abuse Help-line: 1800 441 169
- National Disability Insurance Scheme Commission: 1800 035 544
- Equal Opportunity Tasmania: 1300 305 062
- Aged Care Complaints Commissioner: 1800 550 552
- 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 733
If the situation is urgent, call the police or an ambulance. If you are unsure what to do, call my office - 1800 955 772.