Your decision-maker: persons identified in state and territory legislation

The terms used for your decision-maker varies across Australian states and territories

Common terms include: 

  • Person Responsible
  • Statutory Health Authority
  • Treatment Hierarchy.

These definitions will typically involve categories of people (e.g. guardian, spouse, informal carer or parent) that a doctor must approach to get consent for any proposed treatment if you cannot give your own consent.

Information about the specific definitions for each state and territory can be found here.

ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA 


Is this the person you would have chosen for yourself? 

In many cases, the person identified like this in legislation is the same person that you would have chosen yourself. But this is not always the case. 

Some situations where it is not so clear cut are when a person has: 

  • nobody in their life close enough to be able to make decisions for them
  • family members that they have no real connection with
  • a family characterised by disagreement and conflict
  • concerns that their identified person might not want to take on this role
  • concerns that their identified person might not make the decisions they would make for themselves if they still had capacity
  • concerns that the identified person may not have the skills, temperament or experience to take on this role
  • somebody they want to make decisions for them that is not recognised by others in the person’s life e.g. a de facto or same-sex partner
  • younger onset dementia and there is no other adult available to take on this role.

Legally appointing your decision-maker