There is no single legal framework in Australia that guides legislative requirements for advance care planning. Due to different state and territory laws, the status, language and terminology may vary. This means that some documentation may not have the same meaning in different geographical locations.
A nationwide harmonisation of legislation aims to bring all states and territories into alignment. This is currently under development and it is unknown when it will be implemented.
The diagram below links to the current legislation regarding advance care planning and advance directives.
ACP Laws Australia-wide
In Australia, advance care planning may be recognised under common law (e.g. respecting patient choices program's statement of choices form) or as a statutory ACD under legislation. This may include an enduring power of guardianship, an enduring power of attorney for health or personal decisions, an advance health directive, a medical power of attorney, a refusal of treatment certificate, and any other similar directives in legislation.
|Guardianship and Administration Act 1990||View|
|The Acts Amendment (Consent to Medical Treatment) Act 2008||View|
|Australian Capital Territory||Online|
|Powers of Attorney Act 2006||View|
|Medical Treatment (Health Directions) Act 2006||View|
|New South Wales||Online|
|Guardianship Act 1987||View|
|Advance Personal Planning Act||View|
|Powers of Attorney Act 1998||View|
|Guardianship and Administration Act 2000||View|
|Advance Care Directives Act 2013||View|
|Guardianship and Administration Act 1995||View|
|Guardianship and Administration Act 1986||View|
|Medical Treatment Act 1988||View|
|Powers of Attorney Act 2014||View|
|Medical Treatment Planning and Decisions Act 2016||View|
Extensive evaluation and analysis of current law Australia-wide and inter-state validity, greatly useful for health professionals, has been published in the Australian Health Review.
Brief outlines of ACP law in different states and territories are also available at
and for general end-of-life decision making law at
while some basic information can be gleaned from this 2014 article in the Australian Family Physician:
- Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council. (2011). A national framework for advance care directives.
- The Senate Community Affairs References Committee, Palliative care in Australia. 2012, Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House: Canberra.
- Carter RZ, Detering KM, Silvester W, Sutton E. Advance care planning in Australia: what does the law say? Aust Health Rev. 2016;40:405-14.