Landmark legislation to protect adults who are vulnerable to abuse or neglect is one step closer following the passage of an Australian-first bill through the Legislative Council today.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the passing of the Office for the Ageing (Adult Safeguarding) Amendment Bill 2018 is a very important step to protect vulnerable South Australians.
“In the shadow of Oakden, the Marshall Liberal team committed to adult safeguarding legislation to protecting the rights of vulnerable adults,” Minister Wade said.
“While the former Labor Government allowed reports to gather dust for years, the Marshall Liberal Government honoured its commitment to table legislation within 100 days of taking office.
“Today, with the legislation passing through the Upper House, we are one step closer to delivering positive change for vulnerable adults.
“All vulnerable adults deserve to have their rights safeguarded and to live a lift of dignity and autonomy.
“This legislation will establish a dedicated Adult Safeguarding Unit with statutory responsibility and accountability for responding to reports of abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults.
“The Unit will make it easier for the community to report suspected or actual cases of abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults.
“It also has the remit and power to further investigate reports and put in place a safeguarding plan to support the vulnerable adult to live free from abuse or neglect.
“Additionally, a key focus of the new Unit will be the prevention of abuse through raising awareness within the community, and education.
“This legislation will fill the gaps reported in our current system, removing the complexities for people who in the past, have had to navigate multiple systems.”
The legislation was developed after broad community and stakeholder consultation and is based on the recommendations of national and state inquiries.
It is the first legislation of its kind in Australia.
Minister Wade said the legislation will deliver much-needed protection for vulnerable adults in South Australia.
“With the topic of elder abuse still prominent, the South Australian community wants an Adult Safeguarding Unit that is empowered, accountable and transparent, but also approachable,” he said.
“This legislation will safeguard vulnerable adults from abuse and support them to live their lives free from abuse or exploitation.
“Passing this Bill through the Legislative Council today is a milestone for South Australia and will lead the way for adult safeguarding reform around the nation.”