Back in October 2013, I wrote about the introduction of a new Super Tribunal. There have now been some further developments on this and it's a very exciting prospect for South Australians.
The South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) establishment project is charged with ensuring that a venue for the review of decisions made by State and Local Government agencies is put in place in the near future which will replace the range of various Tribunals currently in existence:
- the Guardianship Board of South Australia;
- the Housing Appeal Panel;
- the Residential Tenancies Tribunal and the like.
The aim is to provide a one-stop-shop where disputes can be resolved quickly and cost effectively.
The relevant legislation was passed and proclaimed on 14 November 2013. The SACAT will begin operation after a further Bill is passed which will provide for these boards, panels and other bodies, to come into the jurisdiction of the one-stop-shop. The Residential Tenancies Tribunal and the Guardianship Board are to be amongst the first bodies to become operational as part of the SACAT.
It is anticipated that this will occur after the South Australian State election in March 2014. Thereafter it is anticipated that conferring of other jurisdictions will continue in stages.
A firm of architects has been engaged by the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure to assist in determining SACAT's requirements and develop design options. It is anticipated that state of the art technology will support the workings of SACAT which is to include;
- a case management system;
- online lodgements;
- online payments;
- web presence;
- portable devices;
- video conferencing;
- audio recording; and of course
- state of the art telephone systems.
The aim is to have SACAT readily accessible to people from all walks of life and especially those suffering from disabilities. The next step is the recruitment of the Registrar which is currently being advertised in addition to the development of Tribunal rules, necessary forms and the development of the Tribunal fee structure.
It is hoped and anticipated that the fee for accessing SACAT will be affordable and that rules in relation to dispensation of fees for those most in need will be enacted. We aim to keep you posted on the further developments of the SACAT.