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General principles of the Act

The Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 aims to seek a balance between the right of an adult with impaired decision-making capacity to maintain an independent role in decision-making and their right to adequate and appropriate decision-making support.

To achieve this balance, a range of general principles are to be applied by administrators. These include:

  • presumption of capacity: adults are presumed to have the capacity to make their own decisions unless it is established they are unable to
  • human rights: regardless of decision-making capacity, everyone has the same basic rights including the protection of individual liberty and access to services. Decision-makers must recognise the importance of encouraging the adult to exercise their rights
  • individual value: each person is valued as an individual and their human worth and dignity is respected
  • valued social role: an adult’s right to be a valued member of society is recognised, as is the importance of encouraging and supporting them in social roles such as home owner, bank customer, investor, shopper, worker and volunteer
  • participation in community life: decision-makers must acknowledge the importance of encouraging the adult to take part in general community activities and of providing the support needed for such participation to occur
  • encouraging self-reliance: decision-makers must recognise the importance of encouraging an adult to be as autonomous and self-reliant as possible - physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually
  • least restrictive option: anyone performing a function or exercising a power under the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 must apply the least restrictive option that is consistent with the adult’s proper care and protection. This also means:
    • maximum participation in decision-making - the adult has the right to partcipate, to the best of their ability, in the decisions affecting their life. This involves giving the adult any necessary support and access to information to enable them to participate in such decisions. It also includes seeking and taking into account the adult's view and wishes, whether they are expressed orally, in writing or through interpreters or other ways of communicating
    • substituted judgement - if it is possilbe to work out from the adult's previous actions what their views and wishes would be, then these must be taken into account in any decision made
  • maintenance of existing supportive relationships: decision-makers must recognise the importance of maintaining the adult’s existing supportive relationships
  • maintenance of environment and values: decision-makers must recognise the importance of maintaining the adult’s cultural and linguistic environment including any religious beliefs and lifestyle choices
  • appropriate assistance: the assistance given to the adult in a particular situation must meet their current needs and be adapted to their individual characteristics
  • confidentiality: decision-makers must recognise the adult’s right to confidentiality about personal information.

Descriptions of QCAT's jurisdiction on this website are general information only. They do not definitively describe the types of applications on which QCAT can make decisions. The relevant legislation determines QCAT's jurisdiction. If you are unsure about your legal rights, you should seek legal advice. Your individual circumstances should guide any actions taken to resolve your dispute.

Last reviewed
9 November 2011
Last updated
30 January 2015

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