The Queensland Government released the independent review of the Public Trustee’s fees and charges on 17 October 2022. The work undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers is the first major review of our fees and charges in more than 20 years.
Key findings from the review support statements previously made by the Public Advocate that many customers receive a high level of service for very little cost. This work is an important step in making sure the Public Trustee’s fees and charges system is as easy as possible for customers while ensuring as a self-funded organisation it can remain sustainable in the long term.
Review findings include:
• The Public Trustee of Queensland’s fees and charges are reasonable - and comparable to, or low in comparison to, other state trustees and private sector providers.
• The fees and charges system is complex, acknowledging often complicated customer needs.
• The fees do not reflect the current cost of services being delivered, resulting in the Public Trustee not fully recovering the cost of the services it provides.
Changes to take effect from 1 November 2022
The Queensland Government will further consider the proposals in the independent review and in the meantime has sought to implement some initial changes in recognition of current cost-of-living pressures. The following fees will be reduced for financial management customers - some of our most vulnerable Queenslanders - by applying for a moratorium to remove:
• the separate fee for incidental outlays
• the separate property realty fee.
In addition, all customers will continue to benefit from a freeze on the annual government indexation of fees.
Potential future changes
The independent report recommends considering increasing Public Trustee's charges for discretionary services that customers can seek from other providers (such as will-making services which are currently free).
Government will carefully consider proposals to fully understand the impact of any potential changes on customers and services. In the meantime, there will be no significant fee increases until stakeholder and public consultation can be undertaken, and Government has considered the implications of any of the proposed changes.
Fees and Charges Q&As
How was the review conducted?
• PricewaterhouseCoopers was engaged to conduct the independent review, which included benchmarking the Public Trustee’s fees and charges against other state trustees and comparable private sector providers.
• Consultation included a public survey through the Queensland Government Get Involved website, and one-on-one sessions with key internal stakeholders.
• The review scope was expanded to consider the Public Advocate’s recommendations as this report was released when the review was already underway.
What are the next steps?
• The Government is now further examining the recommendations in the report and will undertake further work to fully understand the impact the potential changes may have on customers, as well as the Public Trustee’s services over the longer term.
What public consultation is planned?
• Government requires that any increase in fees or charges must be consulted on with the community to ensure impacts are well understood and inform decision-making.
• Any proposed changes to the system of fees and charges will be informed by this consultation.