Shadow Attorney General Nick Goiran says every West Australian concerned about elder abuse should be outraged at the McGowan Labor Government’s blatant disinterest in their own pledges for elder abuse law reform.

“It could not be clearer that the McGowan Government considers disrupting the overdue extension of Roe Highway a greater priority than protecting elderly Western Australians,” Mr Goiran said.

“Changes to the Guardianship and Administration Act were promised more than 1500 days ago and despite repeated requests we are still yet to see a Bill.”

The McGowan Government pledged to “expedite” changes to the Guardianship and Administration Act prior to the 2017 election.

The lack of expediency was exposed in 2018 by the Select Committee into Elder Abuse, of which Mr Goiran was the chairman.

“We were told by the Attorney General in April 2018 that a bill to amend the Guardianship and Administration Act was approved by cabinet in December 2017,” Mr Goiran said.

“Three years later and after countless attempts to remind the McGowan Governmentof the need for law reform in this area, we are no closer to addressing this problem.

“Elder abuse affects 1 in 20 older people in Western Australia, and elder abuse support and referral agencies such as Advocare and the Older People’s Rights Service report that these numbers are conservative.

“Older people deserve respect and the legislative reform void that this government unashamedly facilitates is disrespectful and leaves older West Aussies at risk.

“I urge the McGowan Government to desist from this exercise in procrastination and get on with the job of properly protecting against elder abuse.

“With total control comes total responsibility. There can be no more excuses. The time for ducking, diving and deflecting is over.”

Fast facts

• The Statutory Review of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 by the Department of the Attorney General was completed in November 2015 and highlighted the need for amendments to the Act for effective guardianship of adults who need assistance in their personal affairs.

• In January 2017, the McGowan Government made an election commitment to “Expedite the enactment of amendments to the law surrounding enduring powers of attorney and guardianship”.

• The Select Committee into Elder Abuse completed its final report: ‘I never thought it would happen to me: when trust is broken’, in September 2018 including recommendation 24 that the Government amend the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990, as a matter of urgency.

• Hon John Quigley MLA wrote a letter to the Select Committee into Elder Abuse dated 26 April 2018 (page 87 of the Final Report) stating a bill to amend the Guardianship and Administration Act was approved by Cabinet in December 2017 and ‘it is anticipated that the Amendment Bill will be introduced in the Spring Session [of Parliament]’. This was referring to Spring 2018.

• 13 November 2018: The Government response on Recommendation 24, was: “the Government has committed to expedite the enactment of amendments set out in the recommendations of the Statutory Review. It is anticipated the Amendment Bill will be introduced in the first half of 2019”.

Raised in the 40th Parliament of Western Australia by:
Hon Tjorn Sibma MLC on 19 September 2018
Hon Alison Xamon MLC on 7 November 2018
Hon Tjorn Sibma MLC on 21 November 2018
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 9 May 2019
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 15 May 2019
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 4 June 2019
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 8 August 2019
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 14 August 2019
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 25 September 2019
Hon Rick Mazza MLC on 22 October 2019
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 30 October 2019
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 12 February 2020
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 19 February 2020
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 11 March 2020
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 12 March 2020
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 10 June 2020
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 17 June 2020
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 12 August 2020
Hon Alison Xamon MLC on 8 October 2020
Hon Nick Goiran MLC on 22 October 2020

As of 3 June 2021, there has been no sign of any such Bill being introduced in WA Parliament.