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Queensland's embattled Office of the Public Trustee has a new chief, with Acting Public Trustee Samay Zhouand appointed to the role for three years.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said Mr Zhouand would bring extensive experience in public administration and the Queensland legal system to the role, which he has been acting in since 2019.

New Public Trustee Samay Zhouand.
New Public Trustee Samay Zhouand.

The appointment of Mr Zhouand comes after a tumultuous two years for the Public Trustee, which hasn't had a permanent leader since Peter Carne was stood down in June 2019.

Mr Carne was suspended by the government following allegations of being intoxicated in the workplace during working hours, being absent during work hours and bullying.

Mr Carne was cleared by the Crime and Corruption Commission of allegations of misbehaviour. In August of last year, he decided to retire after the CCC advised it would not be proceeding with any charges.

 

Peter Carne, former Public Trustee of Queensland.
Peter Carne, former Public Trustee of Queensland.

 

Minister Fentiman said Mr Zhouand had been undertaking considerable reform within the organisation since acting in the role, and this work would now continue under his leadership.

"During his time as Acting Public Trustee, Mr Zhouand has worked tirelessly to implement new customer-focused strategies within the Public Trustee," she said.

"He has successfully steered the organisation through the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring customers had continued access to the essential services provided by the Public Trustee, and positioned the organisation for the post-pandemic economic recovery."

Mr Zhouand was the successful candidate from a field of both internal and external applicants.

Prior to taking up the role of acting Public Trustee, Mr Zhouand held senior executive positions with Queensland Corrective Services and the former Department of Community Safety.

In March a shocking report revealed hundreds of vulnerable Queenslanders had been overcharged by the Public Trustee, with the report raising "serious issues" about how the authority manages its clients' money.

Ms Fentiman revealed the State Government would establish a Public Trustee Board to provide oversight and direction to the office.

"The board will improve the Public Trustee's performance, transparency and accountability, and enhance public confidence in this valuable service," she said.

"It is clear that the agency needs to be more transparent about its fees and charges."

The Public Trustee has pledged to increase transparency, simplify its cost structure and have a renewed focus on customers.

Originally published as REVEALED: Public Trustee appointed after two-year scandal



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