- State Trustee in Vic ombudsman sights
- By Andrew Drummond
- 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.