The whole-of-government COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 passed on 24 March 2020 and commenced the following day.
It made changes to various Acts, including the Mental Health Act 2007. Section 202 was introduced, resulting in three key changes that relate to the Mental Health Review Tribunal’s operations and orders:
- The Tribunal may now hold a mental health inquiry under section 34 by telephone, rather than by audio visual link or in person.
- The time the Tribunal has to adjourn a mental health inquiry is now 28 days, from 14 days.
The Tribunal can now extend a Community Treatment Order for three months even if that means the order will be in force for more than 12 months.
The Tribunal can only exercise the above functions if it considers it is necessary to do so because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These changes will be in place for at least six months, or possibly up to a year, after commencement.
Please contact the Mental Health Branch at MOH-MentalHealthBranch@health.nsw.gov.au for more information.