Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2220 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
The imposition of a fee for making an appeal is already a disincentive to people who are affected by decisions. The lack of provision for a refund in successful cases merely compounds this disincentive. My bill, therefore, allows a refund of fees for lodging an application with the AAT if the appeal ends in the applicant's favour.
I understand there was once a similar provision in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act for refunds of application fees where the appeal was successful. However, this was removed by the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Act 2000. This act made a wide range of amendments to various acts, including the bringing together of provisions regarding the setting of court and tribunal fees and placing them in the Magistrates Court Act. However, in the process, the provision for refund of fees, which at the time was contained in a subsection in the AAT Act, was deleted by the former Liberal government.
I admit that, at the time the Justice and Community Safety Amendment Bill was debated, I was not aware of this change, and I think other non-government members were in a similar situation. In hindsight, I do not think this amendment should have been passed, as it is unfair to people who have valid grounds of appeal.
It is not a monumental change, but I believe it is about time this anomaly was corrected. It made it possible for the Attorney-General to issue a determination on fees under section 248A, which contains provision for a refund. However, I do not want to leave the application of this important principle to the whim of the minister of the day. It should be written into the legislation.
I am aware that the government has foreshadowed changes to the appeal system for development approvals, which may, in some way, affect the operation of the AAT. Given that the AAT hears a range of appeals, my bill still stands. However, in relation to planning appeals, my intention in putting this bill forward now is to flag to the government that the principles behind my bill should be incorporated into any separate appeal system. I commend this bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Hargreaves ) adjourned to the next sitting.
MS MacDONALD (10.39): I move:
That this Assembly:
(1) notes the trial of a third bin for green and food waste in Chifley, the Household Organic Material Collection Trial, and thanks the residents of Chifley for their participation in the trial;
(2) welcomes the release of the Report on the Bio Bin trial and notes the results;
(3) congratulates ACT Waste on the innovative trial; and
(4) looks forward to a cost effective and environmentally friendly way to deal with green and household waste in the near future.