Protection of Rights Services Review

Public Consultation Now Open

In 2016 a range of changes were made to protection of rights agencies in the ACT, including expanding the ACT Human Rights Commission to include the Public Advocate, Victims of Crime Commissioner and Victim Support ACT, as well as providing the Public Trustee and Guardian with Guardianship functions. The legislation provided that there would be a review of how these changes are working.

An independent review has now commenced.  It is being conducted by Insight Consulting Australia.

The Terms of Reference for the review are available here.

The review will consider the current model of services available to protect the rights of Canberrans and whether it is meeting the community’s needs and expectations. 

Public consultation on the review is now open and seeks your feedback until 23 September 2020.

The review is particularly interested in hearing about:

  • Your views on the current model;
  • How the agencies work with others in the community;
  • The efficiency and effectiveness of agency complaints handling and service delivery;
  • Opportunities to improve knowledge and understanding of the work of the agencies and the services they provide;
  • How to improve service user and stakeholder experiences. 

The review will also consider the Our Booris, Our Way recommendation to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner in the ACT.

How to get involved

There are two simple options available for people and organisations wishing to provide input to the review:

The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes and all questions are optional. 

A direct submission allows people and organisations to provide more detailed or specific feedback. Direct submissions may be in writing or sent as a voice or video recording to

All information provided to the review will be confidential and not shared with the agencies being reviewed. Insight may quote from people’s input, but will not identify specific stakeholders or individuals. Direct submissions may be made anonymously, and Insight will not publish your submission online, or attribute any comments to you in a report about the consultation, unless you agree. If your submission is published, Insight will include your name and organisation (if any), unless you tell them that you do not want these details published. Insight will not include contact information such as your address, email or phone number.

For more information on how the Justice and Community Safety Directorate and Insight, as an external contractor, will deal with personal information, please read our Privacy Policy, which is available here.

The survey is open and direct submission will be accepted till 23 September 2020.

Human Rights Commission

The ACT Human Rights Commission promotes the human rights and welfare of all people living in the ACT. It does this through providing a wide range of oversight, advocacy, advice, awareness raising and intervention functions which have a human rights focus. 

The Commission also provides services for:

  • consideration and conciliation of complaints about health services; disability services; services for children and young people; services for older people; the treatment of vulnerable people, including people with a disability and elderly people who may be at risk of abuse; as well as dealing with discrimination complaints;
  • victims of crime, including counselling, help navigating the criminal justice system, financial assistance, court support, specialist outreach services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the provision of intermediaries to assist children and people with disabilities to give their best evidence and advocacy to resolve victim concerns about the way they’ve been treated by justice agencies; and
  • intervening on behalf of people at risk, including people with mental health conditions and forensic patients, and children and young people, particularly those involved with the child protection and/or youth justice systems. Advocates may support people in court or tribunals or intervene in other ways to address individual or systemic issues facing these groups.

The Commission has a focus on consulting and engaging with groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; children and young people; people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds; people in detention; people with a disability; and LGBTIQ people to promote their participation in decision-making. 

The Human Rights Commission is made up of the following members :

Further information about these specific statutory roles is available by clicking on the links.

More information on the Human Rights Commission can be found here.

Public Trustee and Guardian

The role of the Public Trustee and Guardian is to provide the ACT community with permanent and secure Trustee, Guardianship and Administration services, including estate administration and will-making services. 

The Guardianship function was moved from the Public Advocate to the Public Trustee and Guardian in 2016 as part of the protection of rights reforms.

A Guardian is a person appointed by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) under the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991. A Guardian is appointed to make a range of personal and health decisions for a person who is found by ACAT to have a decision-making disability.

When appointed as Guardian, the Public Trustee and Guardian may make decisions about -

  • where and with whom the person lives;
  • the education or training the person receives;
  • if the person is allowed to work - and, if so, the nature of the work, place of employment and employer;
  • consent for medical procedures or other treatment; or
  • bringing or continuing legal proceedings for the person.

More information on the Public Trustee and Guardian can be found here

Our Booris, Our Way

Our Booris, Our Way recommendation to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner in the ACT

The Our Booris, Our Way review was commissioned in June 2017 to focus on systemic improvements needed to address the unacceptable overrepresentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in the ACT child protection system.

Three Australian jurisdictions, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia have appointed specialist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children Commissioners. While their roles are primarily framed as review and advocacy roles, in its interim and final report, the Our Booris, Our Way Steering Committee recommend that the ACT appoint an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner with these and additional capacity to specifically intervene and engage in child protection processes.

In response to the interim report of Our Booris, Our Way, the government revised the terms of reference of the Protection of Rights Services Review, to explicitly consider and consult stakeholders and the community in relation to this recommendation. 

More information on the Our Booris, Our Way review can be found here.