Human rights for clients of Qld’s Public Trustee and Public Guardian

To: The Queensland Attorney General Yvette D’Ath and Minister for Disability Services Coralee O’Rourke

The Committee to Expose the Public Trustee is seeking –

1/ That the Disability Services Act and Guardianship and Administration Act be amended to include enforceable human rights for people with impaired capacity for personal decisions.

These enforceable human rights should include those guaranteed by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Australian Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act.

2/ That Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Public Trustee and the Office of the Public Guardian be subject to ongoing monitoring and assessment by an authority independent of these agencies for their compliance with human rights obligations

3/ That the Queensland parliament establish a Commission of Inquiry into the systemic denial of the human rights of people with impaired capacity for personal decisions by the Public Guardian, the Public Trustee and the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal..

In particular, the Commission of Inquiry should investigate –

– the conflict of interest of the Public Trustee as substituted decision maker and retailer of financial products sold to its clients.

– The Public Trustee’s denial of accommodation options to its clients including living in their own home or having their rent subsidised by their investments in order to purchase Public Trustee financial products that maintain Public Trustee fees.

– the conflict of interest of the Public Trustee’s statutory duty to represent the interests of state of Queensland including to maintain an institutional profit and its appointed duty as a substituted decision maker to represent the needs, interests and will of its clients.

– The conflict of interest of the Public Guardian as substituted decision maker and investigator of substituted decision makers.

– The structural incapacity (staff, resources, training) of the Public Guardian and the Public Trustee to appropriately engage with its clients and their carers in accord with the presently unenforcible general principles of the Guardianship and Administration Act.

– The low judicial standards by which a person’s human rights are removed at QCAT including –

a) the lack of legislative clarity as to who should and should not have their human rights removed and to what extent they should be removed

b) The lack of rules of evidence including cross examination under oath in determining the facts considered relevant to the removal of a person’s human rights.

c) the obstacles to appropriate and timely appeal processes at QCAT.

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