VCAT gets digital upgrade to cope with COVID-19
The Victorian Government has allocated $5.2 million towards allowing the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to start hearing non-urgent matters again during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The tribunal has only been hearing injunctions and urgent matters since late March because of the lockdown, forcing current and pending matters, especially Planning and Environment List issues, to be placed on hold.
Now the state government has announced that work has commenced on the necessary technology upgrades to allow the court to resume hearing these matters.
These include the deployment of new project management software, software licences and technology to support the digitisation and scanning of paper files.
The upgrades will be rolled out over the next 12 weeks, and the tribunal plans to consider how these upgrades can facilitate the hearing of other matters through digital channels.
“VCAT delivers critical services that Victorians rely on — this is about ensuring vital projects can continue during coronavirus — helping to create jobs and economic activity,” Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said.
“We’re giving VCAT the resources and the ability to continue their vital work remotely — delivering access to justice for all Victorians while we respond to the challenges of physical distancing during coronavirus.”
Meanwhile, the government has passed new laws making procedural and process changes to enable the courts, corrections and wider legal system to continue to operate unhindered while complying with coronavirus-related restrictions.
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