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Public Trustee to be monitored to restore public confidence

Queensland Parliament has passed legislation which aims to give people across the state greater confidence in the Public Trustee.

Attorney-General and Justice Minister Shannon Fentiman last night said the Public Trustee (Advisory and Monitoring Board) Amendment Bill 2021 allowed for the creation of a new Public Trustee Advisory and Monitoring Board.

“We have said this before and we will say it again – protecting vulnerable Queenslanders is a priority for this Government,” Ms Fentiman said. “The new Public Trustee Advisory and Monitoring Board will enhance transparency and public accountability of the services provided by the Public Trustee.”

Ms Fentiman said the board would be charged with monitoring the performance of the Public Trustee’s functions and provide advice and make recommendations to the Department of Justice for legislative change or improvements, while also being able to provide advice and recommendations to the Public Trustee.

“This will ensure that strong protections stay in place for clients,” Ms Fentiman said.

The new laws, which were introduced in response to last year’s external review of the Public Trustee by the Public Advocate, were announced in October.

“The review acknowledged that much positive change had already occurred at the Public Trustee,” Ms Fentiman said.

“The formation of a monitoring board is a key recommendation in ensuring the progress is maintained and improved further.”

Ms Fentiman emphasised that the Board must act independently and in the public interest, and was not subjected to direction by individual person – including her own office – about how to perform its functions.

The board structure is intended to consist of a combination of community members with relevant fiscal, seniors and disability, and legal knowledge, qualifications and skills and lived experience of impaired-capacity either for themselves or others.

Ms Fentiman said it would also contain senior Public Service officers and at least one Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person.

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