To:
Hon Vickie Chapman MP
Deputy Premier
Attorney-General

This annual report will be presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of the Public Trustee Act 1995 and the Public Sector Act 2009 and the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual Reporting.

This report is verified to be accurate for the purposes of annual reporting to the Parliament of South Australia.

Submitted on behalf of the Public Trustee by:

Nicolle Rantanen
The Public Trustee (Acting)
25 September 2019


From the Public Trustee

About the agency

Our purpose

We provide financial and administrative services to eligible South Australians. We help those who cannot manage their own affairs, and those who have trusted us to assist them.

Our values

Service
Proudly serve the community and Government of South Australia
  • Provide friendly, timely, knowledgeable and accurate information to customers
  • Explain things in an easy to understand and jargon free way
  • Show empathy and put yourself in the customers' shoes
Professionalism
Strive for excellence
  • Provide relevant and timely responses to requests
  • Follow through on priorities and care about your work
  • Encourage ongoing learning to maintain and update knowledge
Trust
We have confidence in the ability of others
  • Trust the team to do the right thing
  • Empower and encourage others to participate in decision making
Respect
We value every individual
  • Be polite, listen to opinions and provide feedback
  • Treat everyone with dignity

Collaboration and Engagement
We create solutions together

  • Consult, genuinely listen to and consider people's views
  • Work together to solve problems
Honesty and Integrity
We act truthfully, consistently and fairly
  • Act ethically and manage risks appropriately
  • Provide honest feedback
Courage and Tenacity
We never give up
  • Be brave and put forward ideas
  • Challenge accepted norms
Sustainability
We work to get the best results for current and future generations of South Australians
  • Value our customers and staff
  • Think broadly to increase efficiency

Our objectives

PeopleWe will be a workplace of choice. Our staff will be engaged in our culture and feel empowered by leaders to develop their skills and capabilities
Customer ExperienceWe will engage with our customers to understand their needs, and deliver a consistently high quality service, treating them with empathy and respect.
Continuous Business ImprovementOur environment will encourage staff to collaboratively engage with business improvement ideas and initiatives, to find new ways to work and deliver excellent service to our customers.
Governance and Financial StabilityWe will be supported by good governance that effectively manages risk, while meeting our agreed fiscal and service targets.

The Hon Vickie Chapman MP, Deputy Premier and Attorney-General is the state’s principal legal advisor to the government and responsible for the administration of justice.

The Attorney-General is a member of Cabinet and responsible for:

  • specific legislation and the state’s legal system
  • developing and implementing policy
  • legal action relevant to the state government.

Nicolle Rantanen

The Public Trustee

The Public Trustee is responsible to the Attorney-General for the efficient management of the Public Trustee Office and the effective implementation of the Public Trustee Act 1995.

The role encompasses acting as administrator, executor or trustee of deceased estates, as administrator of estates of protected persons, as manager of estates of protected persons and as attorney or agent.

The Public Trustee is also the trustee for minors as a result of distributions in intestate estates administered by private administrators and by appointment as trustees for other trusts and Wills.

Tony Brumfield

General Manager Business and Client Financial Services

The General Manager Business and Client Financial Services oversees a comprehensive range of business and support services including ICT systems, corporate financial and administrative services, procurement and risk management.

The role is also responsible for financial services for customers including financial management and reporting, accounts payable and receivable, investment funds management and taxation and superannuation services.

Kevin Kelly

General Manager Customer Services

The General Manager, Customer Services ensures the delivery of high quality deceased estate, trust, financial administration, Will-making and litigation guardian services.

The role provides high level leadership to develop and implement business reform strategies to enhance the customer’s experience and create a positive service focused culture.

  • Public Trustee Act 1995

Under the provisions of Section 5(2) of the Public Trustee Act 1995, the Public Trustee may act as: a trustee, executor of a Will, administrator of an estate (whether or not of a deceased person), manager, receiver, committee, curator, guardian, next friend, agent, attorney, or stakeholder.

Other Acts that form the basis of how, and which, Public Trustee services are delivered to customers are as follows:

  • Administration and Probate Act 1919
  • Aged and Infirm Persons’ Property Act 1940
  • Family Relationships Act 1975
  • Guardianship and Administration Act 1993
  • Inheritance (Family Provision) Act 1972
  • Legal Practitioners Act 1981
  • Powers of Attorney and Agency Act 1984
  • South Australian Civil and Administrative Act 2013
  • Trustee Act 1936
  • Wills Act 1936

Changes to the agency

During 2018-19 the following changes to the agency’s structure and objectives were announced.

These changes to services will take effect from 1 July 2019 onwards.

From 1 July 2019, the Public Trustee will be changing the way it delivers Will making and Enduring Power of Attorney services. Previously, these services were available for free to all South Australians. However, from July 1 2019, these services are only available to eligible concession holders or those subject to administration or protection orders issued by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) or the Courts.

To be eligible, a person must hold one of the following concession cards:

  • Pensioner Concession Card
  • Gold Card from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA)
  • Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI)
  • Extreme Disablement Adjustment (EDA)
  • War Widow
  • DVA Gold Card issued to a person with 80 or more overall impairment points under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004
  • Low Income Health Care Card
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Or receive one of the following Centrelink payments:

  • Newstart Allowance
  • Sickness Allowance
  • Widow Allowance
  • Youth Allowance
  • Partner Allowance
  • Parenting Payment
  • Special Benefit
  • Community Development Employment Project (CDEP)
  • New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS)
  • ABSTUDY
  • Austudy
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • War widow pension under legislation of the United Kingdom or New Zealand.

The Public Trustee has previously accepted money from a variety of approved investors under Section 29 (1) (b) of the Public Trustee Act 1995.

The Public Trustee Act 1995 provides that the Minister may approve classes of persons that can invest money with the Public Trustee (Section 29(1) (b)).

Up until 30 June 2019 that approval included the following classes of people:

  • Wills and customers of the Public Trustee
  • Beneficiaries of estates and trusts administered by the Public Trustee, when funds would otherwise be distributed
  • Trustees of estates and trusts
  • Trustees of charitable funds
  • Religious organisations
  • Trusts of Self-Managed Superannuation Funds
  • Staff

The government does not consider that investing funds other than as part of its role in administering client money is the core business of the Public Trustee.

From 1 July 2019 the Public Trustee has ceased accepting any new deposits, with the service to be fully phased out by 30 June 2021. This will enable the existing clients (approximately 230) sufficient time to seek the necessary accounting and taxation advice, and arrange for an alternative investment provider.

Merging the Public Trustee and the Office for the Public Advocate

The State Government has announced its intention to merge the Public Trustee and the Office of the Public Advocate, under reforms aimed at improving services to vulnerable South Australians

The proposed merger would see customers and clients who currently use the services of both the Public Trustee and Office of the Public Advocate dealing with one agency that addresses all of their needs, providing a more consistent and coordinated service.

The Public Advocate (opa.sa.gov.au) advocates on behalf of South Australians with a mental incapacity, investigating matters where an individual with a mental incapacity is at risk and can also manage decisions relating to a mentally incapacitated client’s accommodation, health, lifestyle and access.

It is important to note that the proposed merger will require legislative change – meaning that State Parliament will ultimately decide if the merger proceeds.

Other related agencies

The Public Trustee is a business unit of the South Australian Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) and as such complies with AGD policies.

The Public Trustee employees are employees of the AGD.

The Public Trustee works closely with SACAT who appoints the Public Trustee to administer the personal financial and/or legal affairs of people who are unable to manage their own affairs.

The Public Trustee works with the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) when there are mutual customers i.e. OPA as guardian and the Public Trustee as financial administrator.

The agency's performance >