Victorian government invests AU$5.2 million in tech upgrade to move VCAT to remote work

The upgrade will mean the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal can continue to hear planning and other matters digitally during the coronavirus pandemic.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The Victorian government said its AU$5.2 million technology upgrade would ensure that the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) can continue to hear planning and other matters remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

To be rolled out over 12 weeks, the upgrades include project management software, software licenses, information technology hardware, and digitisation and scanning of paper files.

"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," Attorney-General Jill Hennessy.

When these upgrades are completed, the Victorian government said any current and pending matters, especially Planning and Environment List issues which were put on hold, could then be heard.

See also: Is COVID-19 the push businesses need to fast-track technology adoption?

VCAT will also consider how these upgrades can help ensure other matters are heard digitally too, the Victorian government said.

Since late March when coronavirus-related restrictions were introduced, only injunctions and "other urgent matters" have been scheduled. 

New laws have also been passed by the Victorian government to enable the courts, corrections, and wider legal system to continue to deliver justice services while complying with coronavirus-related restrictions. This includes temporary power to make further procedural changes by regulation.

Last week, the state government set up the Building Victoria's Recovery Taskforce to be overseen by Planning Minister Richard Wynne and Treasurer Tim Pallas.

The taskforce will be responsible for investigating planning and investment opportunities in Victoria, while also provide real-time advice to government on issues impacting the building and development industry, including barriers to building and development works. 

The taskforce will initially focus on fast-tracking of planning approvals that have been delayed due to the coronavirus.

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