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Strengthening services to some of our most vulnerable

16 April 2019

The Public Trustee and the Office of the Public Advocate will be merged, under proposed reforms aimed at improving support to some of South Australia’s most vulnerable citizens.

The Public Advocate advocates on behalf of South Australians with a mental incapacity and manages decisions relating to a mentally incapacitated client’s accommodation, health, lifestyle and access.

The Public Trustee acts as a financial administrator for those South Australians who cannot manage their own affairs, can prepare Wills and manage Enduring Power of Attorney for eligible customers and act as executor for deceased estates.

Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said that, at present, there are approximately 700 joint clients and customers who access services from both the Public Advocate and the Public Trustee.

“For the individual and their loved ones, there is currently an unnecessary level of duplication as they need to deal with two individual agencies on matters that relate to the same person,” she said.

“This can create confusion and can result in people having to tell their story numerous times.

“By amalgamating the two services, we will eliminate any confusion and double-handling, delivering a more consistent, efficient service for all clients and customers that take a more holistic approach to meeting their needs.”

There will be no impact on current customers and clients of the Public Trustee and Public Advocate - it is business as usual.

“This will require legislative change, and we will be working to ensure our proposed legislative framework and any amalgamated structure delivers the best possible outcome for clients,” Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said.

“Input from those who have had experience with both the Public Trustee and the Public Advocate will be essential as we progress these reforms, and I look forward to hearing their views on how they would expect the new body to operate.”