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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1408 ..

Guardianship and Management of Property Bill 2001

Mr Moore , on behalf of Mr Stefaniak , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR MOORE (Minister for Heath, Housing and Community Services) (11.11): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I ask for leave to have the speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows:

Mr Speaker,

The Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991, which this Bill amends, provides for those who are unable to make appropriately reasoned decisions about their welfare or personal affairs. It establishes the Guardianship and Management of Property Tribunal, which can appoint someone-

� as a guardian, to make decisions about matters involving day-to-day living and medical treatment on the person's behalf; or

� as a manager, to manage all or some of the person's property, and to enter into transactions on behalf of the person for his or her benefit.

Requirements that currently exist in the Act for the appointment of managers are different to requirements for the appointment of guardians. The Act requires, for the appointment of a guardian, that the represented person must be unable to make reasonable judgements about matters relating to his or her health or welfare, or that the person is unable to do anything necessary for his or her welfare. In contrast, the single requirement for appointment of a manager is that the person is, 'legally incompetent' to enter into a transaction relating to his or her property. The term 'legally incompetent' is not defined.

The ACT Supreme Court considered the criteria for appointment of managers in a recent appeal from the Guardianship and Management of Property Tribunal. The represented person suffered from a mental illness, and a guardian was appointed for decision making about his health and welfare. He received a lump sum compensation payout as the result of a motor vehicle accident, and wanted access to it. It was recognised that he would most likely squander it rapidly. Psychiatric opinion before the Tribunal was that the distress of having the money managed by someone else outweighed the risk of his squandering it.

Nevertheless, the Tribunal determined that this advice did not relate to the represented person's psychiatric condition, and that it was in his best interests that his finances be managed by the Public Trustee and ordered accordingly.

The Supreme Court rejected the Tribunal's approach, and ruled:

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