Information sharing

Recommendation 4–10           The Australian and state and territory governments should develop mechanisms for sharing information about appointments of supporters and representatives, including to avoid duplication of appointments and to facilitate review and monitoring.

4.151   Information sharing will be important in ensuring the effective operation of the Commonwealth decision-making model and its interaction with state and territory systems. Information about appointments needs to be shared between Commonwealth departments and agencies, and between the Commonwealth and state or territory bodies.

4.152   The ALRC recommends that the Australian and state and territory governments develop methods of information sharing. Information sharing could take a number of forms and serve different functions, including avoiding unnecessary duplication of appointments and facilitating review and monitoring of existing appointments.

4.153   At the more formal end of the spectrum, information sharing could take the form envisaged by VLRC, which recommended that supported decision-making arrangements and orders be registered online and not come into force until registration.[158] This type of register could act as a centralised source of information about the appointment of supporters and representatives in particular areas of Commonwealth law, and facilitate the appointment of existing appointees or representatives as a supporter or representative.

4.154   Less formally, Commonwealth departments and agencies could develop or revise existing memoranda of understanding with state and territory bodies with respect to information sharing. Informal information sharing arrangements are already in place between some Commonwealth agencies and public trustees and guardians in some jurisdictions. For example, the NSW Trustee and Guardian has entered a number of arrangements under memoranda of understanding with Commonwealth agencies to ‘share data in order to ensure that the needs of persons are protected and to minimise the duplication of effect’.[159]

4.155   AGAC highlighted that Commonwealth appointments may sometimes need to be reviewed because a representative’s appointment at state or territory level has been varied or revoked.[160] This may be another reason to develop information sharing about appointments.

4.156   Stakeholders were positive about the idea of new registers of decision-makers and other information sharing mechanisms.[161] The Queensland Law Society, for example, submitted that strategies should include a register of decision-makers under state laws, including enduring powers of attorney and advance healthcare directives.[162]

4.157   The LIV has previously supported information sharing through a national register for powers of attorney, with the aim of reducing the extent of abuse of these instruments and increasing certainty for third parties about whether an enduring power is current and valid. Consistently, the LIV supported the development of mechanisms for sharing information about supporter and representative appointments and suggested that the Australian Government consider ‘which agency would be responsible for administering and maintaining the register, funding arrangements, the use and accessibility of the register, and privacy issues of such a register’.[163]