BILL: South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal

Today Mark responded to the Government's Bill which expands the jurisdiction of the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT). 

Statutes Amendment (SACAT) Bill 2019

This is a long but fairly simple bill which expands the jurisdiction of the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The list of areas of potential dispute that are being transferred to the tribunal has been known for some little while. When this new tribunal was created, the former government flagged its intention that there would be a staged transfer of jurisdiction to it. Members would recall that the first cab off the rank was residential tenancies. I think the guardianship board jurisdiction was next, and we have since then seen a staged and orderly transfer of responsibility to this new jurisdiction.

When they sought the Greens' views on this, the government offered a briefing. My response was that it was a pretty straightforward bill transferring responsibility, so I did not need a briefing. However, I did remind the government of what happened last time. What happened last time was that the bill was put forward, debate was commenced in parliament, and key stakeholders were not even aware that the legislation was proposed to change jurisdiction. The example that I give is that when the guardianship board jurisdiction was being transferred, my first phone call was to the Mental Health Coalition.

Their response to me was, 'What are you talking about? What do you mean the jurisdiction's changing?' My reaction to their response was to say in Parliament, 'Let's hold this process up and make sure that everyone who needs to be consulted is consulted.' So I reminded the Government that they had handled that badly last time, and I think they have learnt from the mistake. Within a very short period of time, they shot back to me a list of 70 organisations that had been consulted about this change of jurisdiction. I certainly will not read them all out. The vast bulk of them relate to the health practitioner regulation national law.

I am pleased that the Government appears to have consulted fully and widely. My only evidence for that is the list that was provided to me by the Government and the fact that my inbox is completely devoid of any criticism of the bill from any of these organisations. I do not think there is anyone who has been taken by surprise that the jurisdiction of SACAT is expanding, so I think this bill pretty much falls within the definition of routine.

Having said that, I note that the Leader of the Opposition has flagged that they will be opposing one clause relating to assessors. We look forward to the committee debate and hearing the Leader of the Opposition's arguments and the Government's response in relation to that particular clause. However, as I see it, the rest of the bill is fairly uncontentious, and I look forward to its speedy passage.