STEP Australia Quarterly Message from the Chair

STEP Australia Chair’s Update

Ian Raspin TEP, Chair of STEP Australia

It is so exciting to see that 2023 has started off so strongly for members right across all Australian Branches.  Details of upcoming branch events and plans were shared at our recent Annual STEP Australia Board Meeting in Sydney.  It’s always so fantastic to learn from other branches and to see the level of enthusiasm and drive across the STEP community in Australia.     

STEP Events Around Australia

I have been fortunate to attend various STEP seminars and conferences around Australia that have coincided with my own business travel, including the fantastic STEP South Australia Trust Symposium held in March, the STEP New South Wales Seminar on Court Appointed Administrators presented by Richard Neil TEP, and the STEP Victoria Seminar on Grabovic v Yang (2022) VSC 417 (Foreign Will Issues to consider) – presented by Rachael Grabovic TEP and Marcus Schivo TEP.  Likewise, STEP Australia’s Deputy Chair, Chris Herrald TEP, also took the opportunity to attend the STEP Western Australia Seminar on the new Advance Health Directive forms presented by Dr Simon Towler whilst she was interstate for work.

We both agreed it has been fantastic to attend STEP’s high calibre presentations and network with likeminded trust and estate colleague’s interstate.  We have seen both familiar faces, met various new ones around Australia and been privy to what I think is the best education network in the world.  I would strongly encourage you to also take the opportunity to attend interstate STEP events. View upcoming STEP events around Australia here.

National Committees and Initiatives

The STEP Australia Board is here foremost and importantly to support branches and membership across Australia.  I am very pleased to report that all the STEP Australia National Committees have started the year in full swing! Nationally multiple advocacy submissions have been lodged by our Advocacy Committee, the National Membership Committee will be focusing on relationships and PD accreditation with other professional bodies, our National Newsletter has already released its first issue for 2023 (check it out here), our first National Incapacity Conference will be held on 4-6 June 2023 at The Star Gold Coast (get your ticket whilst they are still on sale here), and the planning is already well underway for the 2024 National Trust and Estates Conference which will be held in Melbourne.   

National Mentorship Programme 2023

It is also extremely pleasing to see that our National Mentorship Committee has launched another successful National Mentorship Programme which is now well underway across Australia.  If you are not part of this year’s programme, I would highly encourage you to consider getting your name down for 2024. Submit your application to be a mentor or mentee here.

Excellence Awards 2023

I am also very excited to announce the launch of our inaugural STEP Australia Excellence Awards which will recognise exceptional and outstanding Australian TEPs.  The STEP Australia Excellence Award winner and STEP Australia Master Award winner will be announced on 5 June 2023 at the STEP Australia Incapacity Conference Gala dinner. Find out more and enter for one of the awards here.

Get Involved

There are literally so many different ways you can get involved with STEP in Australia, all of which could assist and continue to build and support our organisation and our amazing members. I would encourage you to reach out to your branch Chair or Committee, to speak to a member of our National Advocacy committee on any ideas or issues you may have, or consider to contribute an article to our STEP Australia Newsletter.

Excellence Awards Chair’s Update

Julie Van der Velde TEP, Chair of STEP Australia Excellence Awards Committee

The STEP Australia Excellence Awards Committee was formed early in March this year to establish a system of recognising exceptional and outstanding Australian TEPs.  When you read this, you will already have seen that there will be two Excellence Awards in 2023, a Masters Award for a TEP with more than 25 years’ experience and a Excellence Award for a TEP with less than 25 years’ experience.

This has only been possible because Ian Raspin TEP, Kimberly Martin TEP and Adrian Cartland TEP as committee members and our distinguished judges have contributed time and ideas to make this happen in only a few short weeks.

Four exceptional and outstanding Australian TEPs have agreed to judge the 2023 STEP Australia Excellence Awards.  Our 2023 judges are, David Marks KC TEP, Mercia Chapman TEP, Neil Wickenden TEP and Susan Fielding. The judges will determine the winners of the STEP Australia Excellence Award for an outstanding TEP and the STEP Australia Masters Award for an outstanding TEP with more than quarter of a century of professional experience.

The 2023 winners will be announced in June at the STEP Australia Incapacity Conference Gala dinner on the Gold Coast and the 2024 award winners will be announced at the STEP Australia Conference Gala dinner in Melbourne.

More information about each of the STEP Australia Excellence Awards, the application process and our distinguished judges is available on the STEP Australia website here.

The STEP Australia Excellence Awards are designed to highlight the depth of expertise and the level of commitment of TEPs in Australia and the impact TEPs have on our professions and our society. Please consider if you or any TEPs you know are exceptional and outstanding Australian TEPs and nominate before 8 May.  

With many thanks to everyone whose hard work has made this happen.

Link to Excellence Awards Page –

Advocacy Chair’s Update

Jennifer Sheean TEP, Chair of STEP Australia Advocacy Committee

The STEP Australia Advocacy Committee has had a busy start to the year.  To date, the Committee has put together submissions to the Federal government in relation to the taxation treatment of the residency status of a deceased estate and to the ATO in relation to the review of Practical Compliance Guideline PCG2018/4.  The Committee has also endorsed the Tax Institute’s submission in relation to the Federal government’s proposal to implement a Public Beneficial Ownership Register and STEP WA’s submission in relation to the proposal to extend the legislative perpetuity period in that state.

The Committee has also put a call out for ‘war stories’ in relation to Enduring Powers of Attorney not being accepted by banks in the absence of the donor.  If you have an example where you or your clients have encountered difficulties with a banking institution when endeavouring to undertake transactions as the account holder’s attorney and are willing to share it, we would appreciate you providing those client examples to us – click here to share.  There are some exciting plans in relation to how best to advocate on this issue so watch this space.

The work is ongoing with the Committee considering issues such as non-qualified people undertaking Probate applications, the process of disputing decisions by Trustees in relation to superannuation Death Benefit claims, victims of crime being able to access an offender’s superannuation for compensation, and the ongoing issue of dissatisfaction with the various Public Trustees around the country.  

We are pleased to see that STEP Australia and its members are increasingly having their expertise recognised through approaches by media to contribute to articles about, and comment on, important issues which are the focus of our policy and advocacy work.

Link to Advocacy Page –