Attorney General welcomes deceased estates and trusts audit

  • Auditor General assessed if the Public Trustee effectively administers the deceased estates and trusts it manages
  • No findings of malfeasance, fraud or corruption
  • Government welcomes review of the Public Trustee’s fee structure and governance
  • Attorney General John Quigley has welcomed the Auditor General’s Performance Audit report which found no evidence of malfeasance, fraud or corruption within the Public Trustee, but identified areas for improvement.

    Tabled in State Parliament today, the report was based on a 12-month comprehensive audit by the Office of the Auditor General looking at whether deceased estates and trusts are administered effectively, and whether effective controls were in place to prevent fraud.

    The Auditor General found that the Public Trustee understands its high-level fraud risks, has a coordinated approach to managing those risks, and has a detailed fraud and corruption plan.

    The report includes a recommendation that the Department of Treasury undertake a review into the appropriateness of the Public Trustee’s self-funding model and its governance arrangements.

    The Public Trustee is an entirely self-funding statutory authority that receives no funding from Government and is required to charge fees for its services.

    As stated by Attorney General John Quigley:

    “While I am yet to consider the full report, there appears to be opportunities for the Public Trustee to improve service delivery in areas including timely finalisation of estates and transparent communication with clients over fees.

    “The report acknowledges the Public Trustee has already addressed findings on the need for improved supplier master file controls and has strengthened controls associated with cash cards for clients who don’t have bank accounts or can’t access their bank accounts.

    “I am pleased Treasury is already making arrangements to provide the Government with options to improve equity and value-for-money for the Public Trustee’s clients. The Government will carefully consider Treasury’s findings.

    “In the recent 2022-23 Budget, the McGowan Government approved a significant increase in staff numbers to enable the Public Trustee to meet the escalating demand.

    “This was the largest staffing increase in the history of the agency and will enhance the Public Trustee’s ability to deliver services to those who need them most.”

    Attorney General’s office – 6552 6800

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