VCAT Development Appeals Getting Further out of Reach.

Well it’s beyond stories now, the numbers are out, Development challenges for over $1Mil –  $38 in 2012, will be Over $2000 in 2014. It’s certainly not good for residents trying to fight for thier amenity. VCAT costs are going up in a user pays environment that certainly works against Joe Public. We got the story first hand from a VCAT member recently, he said it would affect many things that VCAT did, particularly Planning cases.

You can tell VCAT – it’s not on until Feb 15th.

IMPORTANT NEWS TO ALL  – via Mary Drost.

Attached is the information I promised to send you regarding the proposed fee increases at VCAT (they want to cover part of their costs).  Submissions are invited on the attached Regulatory Impact Statement no later than 5pm Friday 15 February 2013.  Information on how to make a submission can be found here:  http://www.justice.vic.gov.au/home/the+justice+system/regulatory+impact+statements/ris+for+proposed+vcat+fees+regs.

AND READ  THIS  –  thanks Michael of Melbourne for researching some details  in that huge document, I find it impossible to come to grips with it all, remember there  is a lot more to VCAT than planning.

VCAT Fees Regulatory Impact Statement 2013  ( 790K – 113pages.)

Go to the Regulatory Impact Statement, near the bottom of the page.

It could see an objection against a development valued a t over $1m go from the present $38.80 to $2,014.80.  Obviously a massive cost impost on any affected person objecting to a development

For example, page 13 0f the Regulatory Impact Statement, dealing with an increase in fees for the years 2012, 2013, 2014, & 2015:

  1. If the proceedings are in respect of a development of any kind where the estimated cost of the development is less than $1 million

(2012) $38.8 (2013)$731.8 (2014)$869.6 (2015)$1,007.4

  1. If the proceedings are in respect of a development of any kind where the estimated cost of the development is $1 million or more

(2012) $38.8 (2013)$1,462.3 (2014)$1,737.9 (2015)$ 2,014.8

The Age article on the fee increase is here:  http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/vcat-fees-set-to-rise-20130108-2cdtr.html.

 The Herald Sun article on the fee increase is here:  http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/vcats-win-is-peoples-loss/story-e6frfhqo-1226549124582.

 Kelvin Thomson’s submission  re this matter

http://www.kelvinthomson.com.au/Editor/assets/public_docs/2013/130114%20vcat%20kt%20submission.pdf

 

For your information  l intend  to make a submission supporting the increase in fees for developers challenging Council’s decisions at VCAT but objecting to the increase in fees for residents lodging an objector appeal at the Tribunal.    Also I object strongly to residents or council  having to pay a daily fee for long cases.

VCAT was set up to be an affordable  way for people to get justice.  It was never meant to be expensive for people and it is totally wrong to increase costs for residents.

If the Reforms that Planning Backlash groups have been pleading with successive governments to bring in and make VCAT an appeal body, only to  determine whether council as the Responsible Authority has applied its laws correctly and not make itself the Responsible Authority and accept amended plans, VCAT hearings would be much simpler.  Then there should be no need for these high priced barristers.  In addition  any expert witnesses needed should be given by VCAT so that they are independent.     The costs could be cut to minimum if these reforms were applied.    I do not agree that the residents should suffer financially because the government is reluctant to reform VCAT.

If these increases go ahead, many people will be priced out of the market and that is not at all fair or just.

Developers can spend money as they then add those costs onto the price of the property or make it tax deductible.  Residents don’t have that option.

 

Remember  submissions have to be in by the 15th.  Need not be long submissions.  Just  say no increase for residents wanting to use VCAT about planning and development.  Just as simple as that is OK

The Attorney General’s office   staff told me   that this has  been proposed by VCAT and they are studying it.  I am waiting for an appointment to discuss it with the Minister on our behalf.

Mary

HOW TO PUT IN SUBMISSIONS

Email submissions are preferred and can be sent to legalpolicysubmissions@justice.vic.gov.au with the subject ‘VCAT Fee Regulations’.
Alternatively, submissions can be made by post marked ‘VCAT Fee Regulations’ and addressed to:
Regulations Officer, Courts Policy
Strategic Policy and Legislation
Department of Justice
GPO Box 4356
Melbourne Victoria 3000

 

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