Posted on 30 Apr 2020
Planning and Environment
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, VCAT paused all face-to-face hearings, including those in the Planning and Environment Division. Notwithstanding this, we are working hard at exploring various and innovative options for conducting hearings without the need for physical or face-to-face attendance.
What are we doing?
We have been triaging and case managing files so that cases are ready to go either by phone, video conferencing or eventually in person again. For many adjourned applications, parties may have seen there is an invitation to have the matter dealt with 'on the papers'. VCAT has provided guidance to its users for the filing of material to support determinations 'on the papers'.
Where your application has been adjourned because of the COVID-19 pandemic we will prioritise re-listing as soon as appropriate arrangements can be made.
Revamped short cases list
We will be launching a revamped Short Cases List soon to assist in the management of some less complex matters.
Major case list
All applications received in the Major Cases List will no longer be automatically listed for a practice day hearing. If an applicant requests a practice day hearing (PDH), justification for it will need to be provided. If procedural orders are sought, those orders should be included within the application for review.
All objector applications will be listed for a compulsory conference.
Applicants have not been receiving initiating orders from VCAT as resources have not been available to facilitate this. We are now working on this backlog and all applications that have been filed will soon be receiving initiating orders.
Hearings, compulsory conferences and practice day hearings
We are exploring options to provide non-face to face options for hearings, compulsory conferences and practice day hearings. This will include conducting matters by phone, video conferencing or 'on the papers' as appropriate.