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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 12 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3916 ..

MS FOLLETT (continuing):

It appears to me, as best I can judge, that the amendments which Mr Humphries has put forward, in fact, increase the responsiveness and accountability of the Office of the Public Trustee. The Bill proposes, basically, four amendments to the Public Trustee Act. As best I can judge, they are all related to technical issues like the charging of management fees, the handling of interest that is earned and the payment of profits to clients of the Public Trustee. From my reading of the Bill as put forward by Mr Humphries, I understand that the amendments are all aimed at making the Public Trustee's handling of money fairer for the clients of that office. I understand further that at least some of these amendments were recommended by the Auditor-General. In view of the quest for fairness and the recommendations of the Auditor-General, I believe that the Opposition's support for the amendment Bill is warranted and, as I say, we will be providing that support.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General) (4.47), in reply: I thank the Opposition for their support for this Bill. The amendments are fairly technical but relate to the sorts of things that various people who have fulfilled the role of Public Trustee over a period of time have identified as bugbears in the system that limit the effectiveness of the office. I think it is timely for the Assembly to clear those away and allow the office to operate as efficiently as it can, in the interests of servicing the community that depends on this service.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.


Debate resumed from 26 September 1996, on motion by Mr De Domenico:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

MR WHITECROSS (Leader of the Opposition) (4.48): Mr Speaker, the Cremation (Amendment) Bill is a very short Bill. It allows for the reinstalling of the right of the Government to appoint a non-government medical practitioner to be a medical referee for the purposes of the Act. I do not know whether this is a burning issue, but we are certainly happy to - - -

Mr De Domenico: No; it is a dying issue.

MR WHITECROSS: Mr De Domenico did indicate he was not going to die in a ditch over it. We are happy to support it.

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