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The role of the Public Advocate

The Public Advocate is independent of government, just like the Public Guardian, Public Trustee, and the Queensland Ombudsman.

The Public Advocate works on behalf of adults with impaired decision-making capacity to:

  • promote and protect their rights, including protecting them from neglect, exploitation, and abuse;
  • encourage the development of services and programs to help them reach the greatest degree of autonomy; and
  • promote, monitor, and review the provision of services to them.

‘Having capacity’ means a person can understand the nature and effect of their decisions, can freely and voluntarily make their own decisions, and can communicate their decisions in some way.  If a person is unable to do one or more of these things, they may have impaired decision-making capacity.

Many people experience impaired decision-making capacity due to disability, injury, or illness. For some people, impaired decision-making capacity is episodic or temporary, requiring decision-making supports at specific times in their lives. Other people can require lifelong support with decision-making and communicating their choices and decisions.

What the Public Advocate does

  • monitors the impact of legislation, policies, programs, and services on adults with impaired decision-making capacity
  • advocates at a systemic level to influence the design, development, implementation and reform of legislation, policies, programs, and practices
  • conducts research and analysis to inform systemic advocacy activities
  • engages and works collaboratively with government, non-government and community stakeholders and policymakers
  • identifies innovative and effective strategies to address systemic gaps and problems
  • publishes reports on key issues impacting on people with impaired decision-making capacity

Read about how the role of the Public Advocate is different to the roles of the Public Guardian and Public Trustee.

What the Public Advocate does not do

  • advocate directly on behalf of individuals
  • investigate complaints about services or the treatment of individuals
  • provide legal advice or legal services
  • make recommendations about the appropriateness of services for individuals
  • regulate the quality or delivery of services