To The Honourable Vickie Chapman MP
- Deputy Premier
- Minister for Planning and Local Government
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:
23 September 2021
About the agency
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.
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 customer’s shoes.
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.
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.
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.
The Public Trustee’s Strategic Plan includes the following objectives:
- We 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.
- We will engage with our customers to understand their needs, and deliver a consistently high quality service, treating them with empathy and respect.
Continuous Business Improvement
- Our 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 & Financial Stability
- We will be supported by good governance that effectively manages risk, while meeting our agreed fiscal and service targets.
During 2020-21 the following changes occurred to the agency’s operations.
Private Investor Services Phased Out
In March 2019 it was announced that the Public Trustee investor service would be phased out by 30 June 2021. At the time of the announcement there were 218 individual investors impacted by this change. As at 30 June 2021 only 13 customers had not withdrawn their funds. The Public Trustee will continue to finalise and close these accounts over the next 6 months.
Changes to Investment Services - Cash Rates Credited to Customers
Low cash interest rates result in very low investment returns for the Public Trustee’s most vulnerable customers.
To ensure that fees did not exceed returns for these customers the management fee for the Public Trustee Cash Common Fund was capped at the level of interest earned.
As part of the 2020-21 budget process there were two fee increases that related to the Public Trustee.
1. The investment management fee on growth assets increased from 1.0% to 1.2%.
2. A new fee was introduced for the provision of regulatory services for those managers appointed by the Court. Private Managers will now be charged $244 per annum for the Public Trustee to carry out the annual review of their financial statements and reporting this review to the Courts. These Court appointed Private Managers now pay the same fee as managers appointed by SACAT.
These fee changes commenced from 1 July 2021.
The Hon Vickie Chapman MP, Deputy Premier, Attorney-General and Minister for Planning and Local Government is the state’s principal legal advisor to the government and responsible for the administration of justice and planning in South Australia.
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
- management of land use and development planning for the state
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 or 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 trustee for other trusts and Wills.
Chief Operating Officer
The Chief Operating Officer 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.
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; and
- Wills Act 1936.
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 the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) who appoint 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.