In May 2009, the Attorney-General asked the Commission to review the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 (Vic) and report on whether changes were needed.
Laws about guardianship and administration affect people who have someone appointed to make decisions for them because their decision-making capacity is impaired.
In January 2010, the Commission published an information paper that explained the operation of the laws in Victoria. In February 2011, the Commission published a consultation paper that described how Victoria's guardianship and administration laws currently operate, outlined problems with the current laws, discussed laws in other jurisdictions, and put forward options for reform.
This reference required extensive community consultation to understand the day-to-day realities of community members affected by guardianship laws. The Commission published materials in a range of accessible formats to encourage broad community participation. The Commission also conducted significant community consultation in metropolitan and regional areas.
Many individuals and community organisations attended consultations and made submissions to the review over two-and-a-half years. The Commission also established two expert advisory committees.
The final report was tabled in Parliament on 18 April 2012. It included 440 recommendations to modernise, clarify and simplify guardianship laws to better meet the needs of Victoria's changing population.
The report, consultation paper and other documents can be downloaded from the links below.
Powers of attorney in Victoria changed on 1 September 2015, with the commencement of the Powers of Attorney Act 2014, which implements many of the Committee’s recommendations.
The Explanatory Memorandum to the Power of Attorney Bill noted: ‘The Bill also reflects a number of recommendations from the Victorian Law Reform Commission (VLRC) in its Guardianship: Final Report, which was tabled in Parliament in April 2012. In particular, the Bill allows for a new kind of appointment of a person to be known as a supportive attorney to support a person with impaired decision making ability to make and give effect to his or her own decisions. This important new legal mechanism, which is a legislative first in Australia, recognises that some people with impaired decision making ability do not need a guardian or administrator but are able to make their own decisions with support. Often that support comes from family members and trusted carers, and the ability to appoint a supportive attorney will acknowledge these relationships of support while ensuring that the person retains their right to make decisions.”