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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3248 ..

MS TUCKER (5.04): I move the amendment circulated in my name [see schedule 1 at page 3269].

This amendment was prepared in response to a scrutiny of bills committee report on the bill. The committee pointed out that it might be better to give the tribunal the power directly to determine whether the fee should be refunded to the successful applicant rather than give this power to the registrar, as currently stated in my bill.

To do this places the power in the hands of the body best suited to apply the test to the facts of the case and will achieve a speedy and clear resolution of the issue of whether the applicant is entitled to a refund.

This approach is also consistent with a comparable provision in subregulation 19 (7) of the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal Regulations 1976, where a person who has paid an application fee is entitled to a refund of the fee if the tribunal certifies that proceedings have terminated in a manner favourable to the applicant.

My original wording was designed to be consistent with the wording of the rest of this part of the Magistrates Court Act, where the registrar has various other powers in relation to fees, but I do accept that the approach in the Commonwealth regulation is probably more effective.

At this point, I might just comment on the foreshadowed ALP amendment to my amendment. The ALP amendment changes my bill so that the AAT may order another party to the proceedings to pay the application fee to the successful applicant rather than have the registrar refund the fee. I understand that, in practice, this would be the original decision maker who made the decision that was appealed against-for example, PALM or the Commissioner for Planning or the conservator.

My key objective has always been that the successful applicant get the refund, so I am not really concerned about which part of government pays for the fee refund. However, if the ALP amendment is going to make it easier for the government to administer this initiative, I am happy to support the ALP amendment.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (5.05): I move the amendment, circulated in my name, to Ms Tucker's amendment [see schedule 2 at page 3269].

This amendment modifies the operation of clause 4 of the bill to provide that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal can, after the finalisation of proceedings, order a party to pay the amount of the application fee of the applicant. This amendment will move the financial burden resulting from appeals, small though it might be, to the losing party. Without this amendment, the financial burden would be on the public purse.

Mr Stanhope's amendment agreed to.

Ms Tucker's amendment, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.

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