Since the introduction of the Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW) (the Act), there has been a significant shift in the way the community views mental illness and disability. Advances in medical science have led to a far more nuanced understanding of the impacts of mental illness and disability on people’s abilities. There is now also a greater range of supports and assistance to overcome barriers to participation. Alongside this, there has been a societal shift towards greater recognition of the rights of people with a disability as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD) and reflected in domestic legislation.
Given these developments it is timely to consider the desirability of changes to the Act and in particular its relevance to the population groups most commonly affected by it. This submission deals primarily with the application of the Act in the case of people who experience mental illness.