Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 09 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 August 2008) . . Page.. 3275 ..
ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal 2008
ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Legislation Amendment Bill 2008
ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 (No 2)]
Debate resumed from 8 May 2008, on motion by Mr Corbell:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR SPEAKER: I understand that it is the wish of the Assembly to debate this order of the day concurrently with orders of the day Nos 4 and 5. There being no objection, that course will be followed. I remind members that, in debating order of the day No 3, executive business, they may also address their remarks to orders of the day Nos 4 and 5, executive business.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (6.12): The opposition will be supporting this legislation in principle. The purpose of this bill is to consolidate most ACT tribunals into one ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The main bill establishes the ACAT and its operations. The first amendment bill provides for consequential amendments to 51 acts that are affected by the proposed new arrangements. It also tidies up language and makes it consistent. Where appropriate, it abolishes boards and transfers functions to ACAT and other agencies, such as the Commissioner for Fair Trading.
The second amendment bill provides for consequential amendments to 109 acts that are affected by the proposed new arrangements. As happens in the first amendment bill, language is tidied up and made consistent. The bill also establishes the ACAT trust account, which will be used for defined purposes, including funding the recurrent costs of the tribunal. We will have something more to say on this later. The second amendment bill also preserves people’s little-known right to apply to the Attorney-General for financial or legal assistance in relation to an administrative review.
These ACAT bills seek to consolidate 16 tribunals, councils and boards, including the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. They also give the tribunal jurisdiction for small claims. The tribunal will have four divisions: administrative review, civil disputes, occupational discipline, and general. It will be able to establish other divisions by notifiable instrument.
Members will be appointed by the executive against selection criteria that will be made public because this requirement will actually be enshrined in the legislation. We need to wonder whether the actual selection process will be a public one or whether the Attorney-General will take a leaf out of the Chief Minister’s book when he has appointed chairs in the past.
The qualification requirements for appointees to the tribunal will be as for appointment to the Supreme Court or Magistrates Court—that is, five years or more in the legal profession. Appointments will be for a minimum of seven years for