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Attorney-General must commit to funding

Attorney-General Guy Barnett must ensure ongoing funding is provided to Public Trustees so that the organisation is supported to carry out all recommendations of the Bugg Review and more.

It’s been well recognised that the recommendations are a baseline, not the pinnacle of changes that are desperately needed to ensure cultural change at the Public Trustee and protect the rights and needs of clients.

But none of that can be done without the resources the office of the Public Trustee will need to do that job and do it well.

During Government Business Enterprise scrutiny today, Attorney-General Barnett gave vague comments about securing resources for Public Trustees, despite a recommendation that he and the Treasurer fully fund net avoidable cost of service provisions.

The Attorney-General needs to clearly commit to this funding, so that the Public Trustees can continue to its important work and provide a client-centric approach to some of Tasmania’s most vulnerable residents.

I congratulate the Public Trustees for the massive amount of work they have undertaken over the last year or so, to improve client outcomes, reduce caseloads from 150 to 50 and improve culture, but there is more to do.

The Government needs to make sure that funding keeps pace to allow the Public Trustee to continue this improvement work and keep clients safe.

It is clear from today’s hearings that the Chair of the organisation, Therese Taylor, and CEO Todd Kennedy are committed to following through on this important work, which includes securing the resources to make fixed-term roles permanent.

The Attorney-General must do more than negotiate a budget bid and give his assurances that the funding will be secured going forward.

November 24 2023

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