Leading disability advocate appointed to key guardianship role

Renowned disability advocate Richard Bruggemann has been appointed to a new role in Government to assess temporary orders designed to protect both the community and people living with a cognitive impairment or mental incapacity from the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said Professor Bruggemann’s background in the field made him well-suited to the new role, which has been established as part of the Government’s legislative response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One thing that has become abundantly clear since social distancing measures were put in place to help combat the spread of COVID-19, is that supported accommodation facilities and private guardians may need guidance in determining what steps may be needed to protect people in their care and the broader community,” Ms Chapman said.

“Every individual’s circumstances are unique, and a one size fits all approach is not the right way to go.

“Under these changes, Professor Bruggemann can consider applications from supported accommodation service providers and guardians, to put in place measures to restrict an individual’s movements where there is a clear risk that they may contract or contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

“Professor Bruggemann has worked as the Chief Executive Officer of the Intellectual Disability Services Council and also as the Government’s Senior Practitioner.

“His focus on reducing the use of restrictive practices makes him ideally suited to this position, as he will endeavour to implement a regime that balances public health measures with the individual’s rights.”

Professor Bruggemann said the new legislation and regulations did two important things.

“Firstly, they ensure that the standard on isolation and social distancing applied to South Australians generally is applied to people who do not have capacity to understand the dangers of COVID-19,” he said.

“Secondly, it does this in the context of the rights of the individual and ensuring that, where rights need to be revoked, this occurs through a legal, transparent process.”

Attorney-General Chapman said the measures were designed to protect both people living within supported accommodation and the broader community.

“We have also ensured safeguards are in place to review any decisions made, in cases where either the client or others are not satisfied with the order that has been made,” Ms Chapman said.

For more information on the new process, visit: https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/restrictions-and-responsibilities