Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2774 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
persons and acts as a trustee for deceased estates. The Public Trustee also acts as a trustee of moneys awarded by the courts to minors and persons with a disability. The Public Trustee, therefore, provides an essential role in the community, in that in many instances the occupant of that position protects the interests of people who otherwise would have difficulty in obtaining the services of commercial trustee companies.
The proposed amendments to the Public Trustee Act 1985 are rather technical in nature and do not involve any major policy considerations. They are, however, aimed at granting greater equity to clients of the Public Trustee. They also enable the Public Trustee to collect an administrative fee where it is reasonable to do so. The proposed amendments are four in number. The first amendment will enable a management fee to be charged against interest earned on moneys in the Common Fund Guarantee and Reserve Account at the same rate as the management fee chargeable for the administration of moneys in the common fund. At the present time, because the Common Fund Guarantee and Reserve Account does not form part of the common fund, the Public Trustee cannot charge a fee for the administration of moneys in the account.
The second amendment will make the Common Fund Interest Account part of the common fund. This will allow for interest accrued but not received in respect of investments made from the common fund to be distributed at the same time as interest received by the common fund is distributed. The third amendment will allow any capital profit on investments made from the common fund to be credited to the Common Fund Interest Account, with the result that clients of the Public Trustee will obtain the benefit of the capital profit.
The final amendment will enable the Public Trustee to charge a management fee for the administration of moneys held in the common fund on the last day of each month. The Act at present allows the Public Trustee to charge such a fee on 31 March and 30 September each year and at such other times, if any, as the Public Trustee from time to time determines. This flexibility is considered undesirable by the Government Audit Office on the grounds that it gives the Public Trustee power to charge a management fee whenever the balance of moneys in the common fund is higher than usual. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Ms Follett) adjourned.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (12.04): Mr Speaker, I present the Uncollected Goods Bill 1996, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.