Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2010) . . Page.. 270 ..
that formerly applied to decisions under these acts when reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. It was not the government’s intention that the change from the AAT to the ACAT should have affected the previously clearly defined arrangements for the timely handling of appropriate review rights of planning matters. Requests for rulings or corrections will also be disapplied in relation to ACAT proceedings under these acts. And reasonable costs will be permitted for frivolous or vexatious applications.
The effect of these changes is to ensure certainty in relation to the process of planning appeals consistent with section 22P of the ACAT Act, which provides that the ACAT must decide applications under these acts within 120 days after the day the application is made. These changes will not affect matters that have already commenced the internal appeals process.
Other changes to the ACAT Act reinforce government policy in relation to the act and are also designed to ensure certainty in relation to planning appeals. In particular, the amendments make it clear that, if the law giving jurisdiction to the ACAT provides that the tribunal may not extend the time to do anything, the ACAT cannot prescribe a longer time. When considering the joinder of a person as a new party to the proceedings, the ACAT may only join a person who could have been a party under an authorising law. The amendments make it clear that a statement of reasons cannot be requested for decisions of an interlocutory nature and, accordingly, decisions to adjourn proceedings or an order to default judgement will not be required to be accompanied by a written statement of reasons. This amendment does not prevent the tribunal providing a statement of reasons of its own volition.
Following the recent ACT Supreme Court case of Financial Integrity v Farmer and another, there may be a risk that a defendant could argue that the Supreme Court does not have the jurisdiction to award equitable damages in certain limited circumstances. It is therefore prudent for the Supreme Court Act 1933 to be amended to remove any doubt as to this jurisdiction as well as to ensure consistency with other Australian jurisdictions.
This bill also includes several amendments aimed at improving the operation of the Emergencies Act 2004, the Fair Trading (Consumer Affairs) Act 1973 and the Prohibited Weapons Act 1996.
Amendments have been made to the Emergencies Act 2004 to give the Emergency Services Commissioner the power to appoint emergency services support volunteers to assist the commissioner in carrying out additional functions under the act, such as provide interactive mapping services. This is to complement the existing power of chief officers of a service to appoint a person as a volunteer to that particular service, such as the fire brigade or ambulance. These additional volunteer arrangements will accord volunteers the same protections in relation to both liability and victimisation and facilitate the Emergency Services Agency in garnering assistance to carry out its essential functions.
Under the Eggs (Labelling and Sales) Act 2001, the Commissioner for Fair Trading does not currently have power to prosecute or investigate offences under the act. This