The Public Advocate is an independent statutory officer, with considerable legislative power to promote and safeguard the rights and interests of people with disability.
The powers and duties of the Public Advocate are set out in section 16 of the Guardianship and Administration Act 2019 and include:
advocating for the human rights and interests of a person with a disability
providing information and advice about the Guardianship and Administration Act and the Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016
investigating allegations of exploitation or abuse of people with disability
investigating, reporting and making recommendations to VCAT regarding the need for guardianship or administration
being a guardian, if appointed by VCAT.
As part of this role, OPA runs an advice and information service for:
people with disability
their family, carers and friends
professionals from the health, human services, legal, community services and government sectors.
OPA staff can provide information and advice on a diverse range of matters affecting people with disability, including:
guardianship and administration
enduring powers of attorney
medical treatment decision-making
matters affecting people with disability
referral to OPA's Community Visitors Program.