Tuesday, 12 October 2021 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY Page 7577/7578
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (15:21): My question is to the Attorney-General. Can the Attorney-General advise the house as to the process of the duty of care or obligations of the Public Trustee who may act on behalf of constituents who may or may not be from a non-English-speaking background? With your leave, and that of the house, sir, I will explain further.
The Hon. G.G. BROCK: I have a constituent of Greek heritage who speaks and understands very little English and who has the Public Trustee acting on her behalf of all her assets. However, whenever she is supplied with a copy of her statements, they are always in English and the balances of her assets are not very well understood. She has been advised to hire a consultant to convert from English to her native language. I would like to understand or know how the A-G can provide assistance for persons who may be in this category.
The Hon. V.A. CHAPMAN (Bragg—Deputy Premier, Attorney-General, Minister for Planning and Local Government) (15:22): I think it’s a very important issue and I am certainly happy to take up with the Public Trustee what services they provide in relation to translator-interpreter services and the like for non-English-speaking background clients of the Public Trustee.
I have responsibility for the Public Trustee, which is under a statutory body, and also the Public Advocate. As the member might know, we have about 700 South Australians who have the services of both; that is, they overlap for the services of both. One provides financial investment and support—I generalise there—and the other provides in relation to services for not just advocacy for people but obviously their welfare and service provision.
I am happy to have a further look at the matter. I do recall signing some correspondence very recently in relation to a number of these matters, but if there is anything further the member would like me to follow up I am happy to do so.
As to the first part of the question that related to what duty of care they have, I think it’s important in any public administrative body that there is an obligation, if they are providing a service, to do whatever they can to make sure that that service is accessible, affordable and equitably provided. I make that general statement. I don’t say it’s necessarily a legal duty of care, but they certainly do have an obligation in relation to the husbandry and investment of the person’s financial circumstances. That, in my view, should also be in relation to the information that is provided to the client of the Public Trustee. But, again, if there is any further information the member needs, I am happy to receive any correspondence or material he has to follow it up further.