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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 3971 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

This package of legislation represents a comprehensive model for a planning and land management regime for the territory designed for both present and future needs of government and the community. It is a balanced model that should endure successive terms of government and economic and social change.

I thank members for their support for this package. A great deal of effort has been devoted to providing the Assembly with a unique opportunity to make a critical and greatly beneficial change to the management of Canberra and the ACT.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Clause 1.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal Amendment Bill 2002

Debate resumed from 14 November 2002, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (6.20): This bill has some elements worthy of consideration but in some ways do not go far enough, although sometimes I think they go too far. AAT decisions should be made within 120 days, although the only real sanction is that the tribunal has to own up in its annual report to missing the deadline. Perhaps that is not a sufficient sanction.

The other significant matter is that if the tribunal thinks that a matter is suitable for mediation, and is reasonably likely to be solved by mediation, it can order compulsory mediation. This is a departure from what is usually the case with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. It seems to the opposition that there is no real reason to vary this procedure in this jurisdiction.

There are significant costs in going through a mediation where at the end the parties agree to disagree. It is one thing to have mediation as an optional way of resolving a dispute but it is another to foist it upon parties.

The third significant issue is the notion of awarding costs. While I think this goes some way towards addressing the concerns many people have about the costs incurred in development disputes taken through the AAT, it does not go far enough. Costs can be awarded when someone breaches or fails to comply with an order of the AAT. But the bill does not address whether or not costs should be awarded against people who make frivolous or vexatious appeals against decisions.

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