Powers of Attorney Amendment Bill 2016

Mr HIBBINS (Prahran) — The Greens will be supporting this amendment because I understand it was a Greens amendment that was originally moved to be part of this bill in the upper house. The government looked at the amendment, agreed with the principle and then introduced its own amendment.

The amendment primarily deals with the situation where a family member may have a hearing at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to seek changes to the scope of a power of attorney or make other changes without other members of the family who have a special interest in the person who was given the original enduring power of attorney knowing — and where those members, upon finding out about the hearing, may have a view — that what was sought might not be in the best interests of the family member who was the subject of the power of attorney and so might wish to seek a rehearing.

Given that they would not have been notified in the first instance — possibly deliberately — by the person who appeared at VCAT, the original bill did not necessarily allow the family member any right to seek a rehearing at VCAT when they certainly should have had that right.

This amendment provides that if a person has an interest but was not advised of the earlier hearing they can apply for a rehearing with the leave of VCAT. The aim is to improve the bill to make sure that we are protecting the interests of the principal person and the people who are looking after their interests where a mistake has been made in regard to notification or in cases where it was done deliberately.

It is unfortunate that there may be some people who deliberately want to do this sort of thing, but this amendment aims to protect the person who is having their financial and other affairs looked after under a power of attorney, so we will be supporting this amendment.

Motion agreed to.