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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Maori - mental health legislation

References to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Māori are a feature of the newer Acts. The exception is the New Zealand Act, which acknowledged Māori culture, ethnic identity, language and religious or ethical beliefs and extended family and social groups when it was enacted in 1992. The requirement to consult with the family or whānau of the patient or proposed patient was added in 2000.

Most of the Acts now acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Māori kinship systems and culture. Several Acts go further (such as NZ and WA), requiring the involvement of interpreting services, traditional healers, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals.

*Although the ACT Act does not directly refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Māori, the Principles respect the right to access treatment, care and support that is sensitive and responsive to the patient’s individual needs, including in relation to culture: s6 (f)(i).

Disclaimer: These tables have been developed by the RANZCP as at 30 June 2017 in order to allow key provisions in the Mental Health Acts to be compared. They are intended for reference purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for legal or clinical advice.