22 November 2018
(Bills - Consideration in Detail, Legislative Assembly, Parliament House)
Mr ALEX GREENWICH (Sydney) (11:24): I support Opposition No. 4.
New provisions that would allow guardianship orders by consent, even when a child is not found to be at risk of significant harm or is not the subject of care and protection orders, are problematic because they are being proposed with new powers for the courts to dispense with the parents' consent if a guardian seeks to adopt the child. Parents may consent to a guardianship order thinking it will be only temporary—to give them an opportunity to get back on their feet or to work through some issues—without knowing that it could lead to permanent removal. The Government must guarantee that all parents applying for guardianship by consent are given access to free, independent legal advice so that they know what is involved and can make informed decisions. I support the Opposition amendments.