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Issued: 29 January 2014 [PDF, 114kb] Attorney General Greg Smith SC today officially opened the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), declaring it would improve access to justice. "NCAT untangles the state's complex tribunal system and provides a single entry point for tribunal services," Mr Smith said. "It's expected that NCAT will receive hundreds of applications a day – or more than 80,000 in its first year. If experience in 'super' tribunals interstate is anything to go by, numbers will increase as people become aware of its fast, affordable and easy to access services," he said. "NCAT will conduct hearings around NSW on a diverse range of cases, from the bride whose big day was ruined when her wedding dress didn't arrive, to the petrol station owner who damaged a car by supplying contaminated biodiesel fuel." Aside from consumer complaints, the super tribunal will deal with tenancy disputes, professional disciplinary matters and applications about adults who are incapable of making their own decisions. NCAT will also review decisions by government agencies about licences for taxi drivers, security guards, real estate agents and others. More than 260 NCAT members will hear matters at up to 70 locations in metropolitan, regional and rural areas. NCAT has taken on the workload of 22 specialist tribunals, including the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal, the Guardianship Tribunal and the Administrative Decisions Tribunal. "The specialist expertise and knowledge of the former tribunals has been retained – the biggest difference the community will notice is how much easier it is to access the tribunal services they are looking for,' Mr Smith said. "It's already possible for people to lodge applications online in the largest division of NCAT (Consumer and Commercial) and there are plans to expand online access to other divisions." NCAT registries are located in Sydney CBD, Balmain, Hurstville, Liverpool, Newcastle, Penrith, Tamworth and Wollongong. For more information about NCAT visit: www.ncat.nsw.gov.au
The Occupational Divisionddeals with disciplinary matters against doctors and allied health workers (including nurses, midwives, and chiropractors), lawyers, vets, Local Councillors and members of Aboriginal Land Councils.
The Consumer and Commercial Division deals with residential tenancies, social housing, strata disputes, retail leases, home building matters, fencing disputes and consumer claims.
The Guardianship Division can appoint Financial Managers or Powers of Attorney to assist individuals with reduced capacity, make orders for medical treatment and review existing orders affecting individuals.
The Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division reviews a range of government decisions including revenue decisions by the Office of State Revenue, GIPA and privacy matters, along with complaints concerning anti-discrimination.
NCAT members will hold sittings in up to 70 locations in metropolitan, regional and rural areas of NSW. \
NCAT's principal registry is located in John Maddison Tower on Goulburn Street in Sydney's CBD, with seven other registries around NSW.
Applications in the Consumer and Commercial division can already be lodged online.
NCAT will replace the following tribunals and bodies exercising tribunal-like functions:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice
Aboriginal Land Councils Pecuniary Interest and
Local Government Pecuniary Interest and Disciplinary
Administrative Decisions Tribunal
Local Land Boards
Medical Radiation Practice Tribunal
Chinese Medicine Tribunal
Nursing and Midwifery Tribunal
Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal
Occupational Therapy Tribunal
Vocational Training Appeal Panel