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The Guardianship and Administration Act: One year on, and what it means for our clients

Women in wheelchair looking at her mobile phone

In a year filled with upheaval, a global pandemic wasn’t the only change we were managing at State Trustees. Our General Manager of Financial Administration, Josie Brown, talks about what the introduction of new legislation this year meant for our people and our clients, and how we’re engaging with our clients on the decisions impacting their lives.

1986 – Bob Hawke is Prime Minister, Crocodile Dundee is now showing in cinemas, John Farnham’s “You’re the Voice” is ruling the airwaves and the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 is passed into legislation. A lot has changed since then, including the way we understand how to best support people living with disability.

In March 2020, the biggest reforms to guardianship and administration legislation in over 30 years came into effect with the introduction of the Guardianship and Administration Act 2019. The new Act is designed to better protect the rights of adults with a disability to make and participate in decisions that affect their lives. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) still has the power to appoint a guardian and/or an administrator where a decision-maker is needed for a person who, because of a disability, does not have the capacity to make particular types of decisions on their own. However, the new Act puts in place improved safeguards to ensure that, wherever possible, the guardian/administrator’s decisions are in line with what the person wants.

A year on from the laws being enacted, General Manager of Financial Administration, Josie Brown, said the changes have had positive impacts on our clients and our people.

“Under the legislation, we need to work more closely with our clients and their families, friends and wider support network to understand their goals and aspirations,” Ms Brown said.

“They can be simple, like saving up to buy a car or fulfilling a lifelong dream to travel with family.”

“To achieve this we have adapted the way we work to more accurately record a client’s goals and assist them in managing their budget accordingly. It has been very rewarding for our people to get to know our clients on a deeper level and learn more about what’s important to them. This legislation recognises many of our clients can make their own financial decisions in many areas, and we are working with them to ensure they are involved in the choices that impact their life.”

“By prioritising the empowerment of our clients, we’re also creating clearer pathways for those clients who may be able to regain control of their affairs. Ultimately, we want to help our clients regain full financial independence, where possible.”

More information on our Financial Administration services can be found here.

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