Expanding the role of the SACAT

The South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) will be given additional responsibilities, under new laws proposed by the State Government.

Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman said the proposal would see SACAT take over the functions of the SA Health Practitioners Tribunal as well as the disciplinary functions of the Architectural Practice Board of SA and Veterinary Surgeons Board of SA.

A number of matters previously dealt with by the courts will also be transferred to SACAT.

Attorney-General Chapman said the move further supported the Government’s goal to reduce red-tape by centralising administrative review functions.

 “Since 2015, SACAT has been the central body of administrative dispute resolution within South Australia and we’re working to further consolidate those functions,” Ms Chapman said.

“By shifting these separate review and disciplinary functions to SACAT, we’re streamlining the sometimes convoluted nature of these processes to the one place and increasing transparency and consistency.”

The move also involves the transfer of equal opportunity complaints and exemption applications from the South Australian Employment Tribunal to SACAT.

“While many complaints of discrimination are employment-related, many are not, and involve everything from accommodation and education issues to sale of land,” Ms Chapman said.

“The new legislation will transfer equal opportunity jurisdiction to SACAT, which is a more appropriate fit and brings us in line with other states across the country.  However, for efficiency and to save double-handling, employment-related complaints can be referred to SAET if they are linked to workers compensation or other proceedings already underway in SAET.  This will enable related proceedings to be dealt with at the same time.”

More than 15 other administrative review processes currently dealt with by the courts will also be transferred to SACAT, ultimately reducing the burden on the court system.

“By transferring these administrative reviews, disciplinary and other decision-making functions currently undertaken by the Magistrates Court and District Court to SACAT, we’re essentially freeing up the courts to focus on their core judicial work,” Ms Chapman said.

This is the fourth of a planned five-stage program to move a number of administrative reviews and disciplinary functions under SACAT.

The first phase in 2015 established the SACAT to deal with housing disputes (including residential tenancies), guardianship and administration, consent to medical treatment and advance care directives.

Reviewing administrative decisions across local government, land and housing, taxation and superannuation, environment, energy and resources were then added to SACAT’s remit in 2017.