The Andrews Labor Government is improving access to tribunal services, with a new Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) venue now open in Oakleigh.
Attorney-General Jill Hennessy and Member for Oakleigh Steve Dimopoulos today officially launched VCAT’s new tribunal in Oakleigh, following extensive works to transform the existing two-level building on the site into a modern fit-for-purpose facility.
Oakleigh is the first of several new VCAT locations for metropolitan Melbourne, with venues also earmarked for Frankston and the northern metropolitan area to be delivered by 2021.
The purpose-designed Oakleigh venue will allow VCAT to handle more cases, with enhanced digital technologies enabling more efficient hearings.
People coming to VCAT in Oakleigh to resolve civil issues – primarily about consumer disputes, renting, and guardianship – will no longer have to attend a criminal court building.
Instead the new design is accessible, less formal than a criminal court, and has spaces that can be used flexibly for private discussions, mediations and hearings.
Space is also available for support services such as duty lawyers, to better help people who need assistance attending VCAT.
Importantly, establishing the new metropolitan venues will free up space in Magistrates’ Court buildings to accommodate specialist family violence courts – a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
The Labor Government has also made available more than $30 million through Court Services Victoria to enhance accessibility and safety in Victorian courts and tribunals.
This investment includes improvements to court infrastructure, technology upgrades, better communication, and security upgrades.
The new VCAT venues are funded by the Government’s investment of $130 million over four years, which enables courts to implement and support family violence reform as announced in the Victorian Budget 2017/18.
Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Jill Hennessy
“This new venue will give people in Oakleigh access to the latest technology and purpose-built spaces to resolve their claims – improving access to justice for people with consumer, renting and guardianship issues.”
“This is an important step in fulfilling our commitment to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Family Violence and deliver dedicated family violence courts.”
Quote attributable to Member for Oakleigh Steve Dimopoulos
“It’s fantastic that Oakleigh is the first community to have access to these state-of-the-art facilities – this is about improving access to justice and delivering a supportive, welcoming place where people can resolve their cases.”