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  • State Trustee in Vic ombudsman sights
  • By Andrew Drummond
  • 17/07/2018 Make a Comment (2)
  • Contributed by: Sancho ( 2 articles in 2018 )
The Victorian Ombudsman will investigate suspected systemic issues with the State Trustees' management of vulnerable clients' finances.

Victoria's State Trustee, which administers more than $1 billion worth of assets, will be investigated by the ombudsman amid claims the financial wishes of vulnerable people are being ignored.

Ombudsman Deborah Glass on Tuesday said the investigation would examine State Trustees' role as an administrator for people who are unable to manage their financial and legal affairs due to disability, illness or injury.

"While we have been helping to resolve individual complaints about State Trustees, I have identified possible systemic issues that warrant a deeper examination," she said.

Ms Glass said the investigation was prompted by a sustained increase - including a 37 per cent rise in the year up to July 2017 - in complaints to her office about State Trustees, which is a state government-owned company.

"People have complained that State Trustees did not consult them about decisions or take their wishes into account," she said.

"There have been complaints that State Trustees did not pay bills or other expenses in a timely way. Others have said communication with State Trustees is difficult."

Trustees acting CEO Agata Jarbin said the number of referrals to the ombudsman has been consistent over the past five years, even citing a drop in 2015/16.

"We remain committed to working in our clients' best interests and have recently significantly reduced State Trustees fees on a range of our core financial and estate services," she said in a statement to AAP.


    By:Brucey from VIC, Australia on July 24, 2018 @ 8:13 am
    Had a friend caught up in that mess a short while back,,, i remember thinking the commissions for state trustees in the orders were outrageous.

    3.3% of Centrelink ie. DSP (about $30/fn)
    6.6% of all other income
    1.1% of capital from any funds invested
    5.5% of any assets they sell

    Now if state trustees have 11,000 clients the very minimum they would get from the 3.3% alone is $330,000/fn minus a few expenses of course. Mind you not all would be on Centrelink but $30/fn would be I dare say the minimum charge for everyone. So on the whole not a bad return for hooking in our vulnerable and providing minimal services. Once locked in its easy to see why they dont wanna let them free of Administration,,, a ghastly situation at best which requires in depth public scrutiny.

    By:Sam from Vic, Aust on July 23, 2018 @ 9:25 am
    Many may say that State Trustees in conjunction with VCAT is alot more serious and sinister than what's mentioned by the Ombudsman's preliminary findings above. Those who profess to champion human rights may just be the abuser of said rights. People need to be aware and stay clear of such gatekeeper organisations that don't act in the best interests of those with any form of disability, or anybody really.

    It's unfair and cruel to keep people under VCAT Administration or Guardianship orders against their will, depriving them of their natural right to freedom, legal and financial rights. Even more so when our vulnerable have been coerced by Health Professionals into making unnecessary applications and attending VCAT to enter into contracts with terms they have not been given a chance to read, let alone understand in their own time and way, before the formation of any unilateral agreement comes into play.

    The thing with commercial agreements is once acceptance is achieved, the binding nature of that agreement however disproportionate or one sided it may be, can feel unfair, suffocating and limited with that sense of being trapped like prey to a predator. Like the effects of a mousetrap releasing; breaking the mouse's back and leaving it in agonising pain before death eventually sets in. For some, it can literally feel that severe.

    Not only is this process unfair, unjust, abhorrent and an abuse of process, it contravenes contract law and human rights law, both national and international. What's even more important is it degrades the dignity of our vulnerable and is unethical. Do we still live in the dark ages where we allow State owned and corporate institutions to go around masquerading as our human rights saviours? What is wrong with us?

    People of any persuasion cannot truly be expected to understand what is not fully disclosed to them before entering into any form of agreement and of course VCAT and State Trustees know better! Clearly in law, any such agreement and wrong must be held void and a nullity from the start, and complete restoration and damages must be sought.

    While it's relatively easy to be tricked into an Admin/Guardianship Order, it appears to be a very difficult and time consuming process to revoke such an Order. For a start, try finding a competent pro bono lawyer or disability legal advocate that will help you do this and get free. Try it, contact the Victorian Bar and Law Institute of Victoria and see how much help you get, none!

    Why they don't exist seems to be just one of many mysteries with this so called "Protected Jurisdiction", whatever that really means. Although one can't help thinking it sounds like a Mafia racket as your money and assets are looted, under the guise of some actual benefit to you that you neither wanted nor ever asked for.

    Some may say it's pure theft as consent is not given, and others say it's extortion, as force is apparent as they take money direct from your Commonwealth Benefits like a Disability Pension, again without your true consent.

    When VCAT and State Trustees act contrary to your will and your best interests there is clearly a conflict of interest between you and them. Keep objecting to everything they try and impose upon you, regularly and loudly!

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