This week Collie attended the VPELA hot topics seminar.  One of the presenters was Mark Dwyer, Deputy President, VCAT.

Mark outlined the new practice notes which were released by VCAT on 15 March 2012, some of which have impacts on the Planning and Environment List and many of which seek to speed up the VCAT process and simplify proceedings.

Mark also provided some interesting statistics, including:

  • of the 90,000 cases considered by VCAT each year, only 4,000 are on the Planning and Environment List;
  • the median time for consideration of matters on the Planning and Environment List is 23 weeks (although it was acknowledged that early resolution of many simple cases significantly reduces this median time);
  • 20 per cent of cases take more than 33 weeks for consideration, while 6 per cent take longer than 41 weeks;
  • Section 87a applications (amendments to permits previously issued at the direction of VCAT) now make up 10 per cent of cases on the Planning and Environment List.

It should be acknowledged that the actions of parties to many VCAT cases are often the cause for delays but no doubt funding has a significant impact on time limits.  Nevertheless, it is positive to hear that VCAT is considering ways in which the time to hear cases can be reduced.