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Changes to SACAT’s fee policy
 
As a result of the recommendations by the Hon David Bleby QC, SACAT conducted a comprehensive review of its fee waiver and concession policy. A new policy was proposed and consulted on in December 2017 and in March 2018. SACAT has assessed all of the feedback we received from both consultations.
 
We would like to advise that SACAT will be implementing a new Fee Waiver and Concession Policy effective Tuesday 1 May 2018.
 
The primary change entails introducing reduced fees for concession card holders. Those who currently have their fees waived entirely will now be entitled under the policy to have a reduction in their fee. The proportion of the reduction depends on the type of application and the legislation the proceedings relate to.
 
Full fee waiver will still be available, but only to those who qualify on a more rigorous means-tested application or qualify for an automatic waiver for full fee waiver supported by evidence.
 
Applications that were previously fee-free, based on subject-matter, remain so.
 
Full details of the policy will be available on the SACAT website from 1 May 2018: www.sacat.sa.gov.au
 
Accommodation update
 
One of the main recommendations of the review by Hon David Bleby QC was the consolidation of SACAT to one location as one of the highest and most urgent priorities.

Following discussions with the Attorney-General’s Department and the allocation of budget for 2017-18, SACAT can confirm that we are now in a position to achieve this.

The primary benefit of SACAT being in one place is that it will enable SACAT to continue to develop into a unified single entity.   Whilst the establishment of SACAT has been undertaken very successfully, the maintenance of two sites that house what have been to date the high volume streams has imposed some limitations.  To maximise the things that the streams have in common and allow staff and Member mobility, one location is crucial.

There were 3 obvious candidates: a new site, Pirie Street or Collinswood.  A new site is an attractive option as it would allow SACAT to establish its independence from the predecessor bodies and allow SACAT to plan for the needs of new jurisdiction.  But it would fail to take advantage of the building works and other significant changes made since 2015 and would be expensive.  SACAT’s budget does not extend to starting afresh again.  For the short to medium term, this is not a realistic or desirable option.

As between the existing sites of Collinswood and Pirie Street, both have unique favourable attributes. But there is little doubt that a body that has people coming to it from all parts of Adelaide and interacting daily with other Government departments and businesses, requires a CBD location. Pirie Street is the location that has been identified as within budget and meeting many of the requirements of SACAT for the coming years.

As a result of tenancy changes at 100 Pirie Street, signed agreements have been exchanged that will see SACAT secure additional floor space that will allow for the co-location of all staff, Members and volunteers and provide for additional hearing rooms for current and new jurisdictions.

SACAT’s co-location in Pirie Street will meet accommodation needs, provide more hearing rooms, functional workspaces, collaborative areas, quiet rooms, better amenities and breakout spaces.
As with any change there will be challenges.  Staff at Collinswood have identified some of the likely issues that will need to be considered and dealt with.  Staff views about these issues, and new ones that will inevitably arise, will be important in the identification of solutions.

At the forefront of these challenges are
  • that we need to have nearby car parking facilities, and convenient access and parking for those who attend at SACAT premises including those with disabilities
  • that some of our staff, members and volunteers have found Collinswood to be a convenient place to work, and whilst coming to the city may be good for some, it may not be for others
  • that some of the people who attend hearings have found Collinswood to be a convenient venue, but others have not – particularly in terms of access to public transport
The key period of transition for SACAT will occur in August – October 2018.  Once information is available, it will be shared.
This is an exciting time for SACAT a united single central location with the benefits of flexibility, mobility, and cohesion.
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The South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) is a state tribunal that helps people in South Australia to resolve issues within specific areas of law, either through agreement at a conference, conciliation or mediation, or through a decision of the Tribunal at hearing. SACAT also conducts reviews of Government decisions.

sacat-news provides a regular update on the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).

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