The Andrews Labor Government is helping people resolve disputes more efficiently with the expansion of the Fast Track Mediation and Hearing service to the Grampians and Gippsland.
The Labor Government is providing $6.26 million over four years to support the service, which delivers on recommendations from the Access to Justice Review.
This service delivers faster justice for Victorians and helps ensure Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) resources are available for more complicated matters.
Ballarat consumers and businesses now have access to the service to resolve civil disputes valued between $500-$5,000, with the expansion also rolled out to Morwell.
For Victorians with suitable disputes, a mediator will help parties reach an agreement. If the parties cannot reach agreement at mediation, they will go to a hearing within a few hours – allowing matters to be resolved on the same day.
The service is a partnership between VCAT and the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV).
The Access to Justice Review identified ways to help Victorians, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community, to navigate the legal system and resolve everyday legal issues.
Since starting in Melbourne CBD in late 2017, the service has expanded to Barwon South West, Hume and Loddon Mallee in 2018.
DSCV provides free dispute resolution services, including mediation, as well as training and accrediting mediators to national standards.
DSCV’s purpose is to empower and assist the Victorian community to prevent and appropriately resolve issues, alleviate pressure on the judicial system and help the community to thrive.
VCAT is the busiest tribunal in Australia, finalising more than 83,000 cases in 2018-19. It serves the community by resolving civil disputes and making decisions in human rights and guardianship cases.
As stated by Attorney-General Jill Hennessy
“I’m proud to say this service is now available in Ballarat and Morwell because all Victorians deserve support to resolve disputes quickly and satisfactorily.”
“This partnership is one way that the Andrews Labor Government is working to meet the needs of all Victorians – because access to justice and mediation helps Victorians resolve stressful and costly disputes.”