Since 28 November 2008, the Commonwealth's Deposit and Wholesale Funding Guarantee Scheme covered deposits over $1 million only where the participating Authorised Deposit Taking Institution (ADI) paid the relevant fee, which is recoverable from account holders. The fee is offset by ADIs against the interest that susceptible accounts generate. However, the interest that general trust accounts generate is neither returned to the account holder or the beneficial owner of pooled funds, instead being channelled to a range of purposes including public benefit purposes.
The National Legal Profession unit made several submissions to the Federal Treasurer and Attorney-General seeking to have solicitors' trust accounts exempted from the need to pay the fee. The unit also met with Treasury representatives on several occasions and provided detailed estimates and complex analysis of trust account mechanisms.
On 11 February 2009, Treasury officials formally advised that relief would be provided from the fee to access the Guarantee Scheme in respect of selected accounts. The National Legal Profession unit was able to advise Constituent Members on 30 March 2009 that it had succeeded in obtaining a waiver of the fee to access the Deposits Guarantee for balances in legal practitioners' general trust accounts and certain statutory deposit accounts that exceed $1 million.
The Federal Government publicly released details of the specific accounts over which the waiver would extend, by way of a Guidance Note and List of Sample Accounts posted to the Guarantee Scheme for Large Deposits and Wholesale Funding website and on 1 April the waiver commenced operation.