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TasCOSS comments on A single tribunal for Tasmania: Discussion paper, September 2015

Such a division would incorporate specialist functions such as guardianship & administration, anti-discrimination, child protection and any other jurisdictions of a sensitive and personal nature or where particularly vulnerable people are involved. It might also include the Mental Health Tribunal if it is decided to incorporate that tribunal in the new structure (see our further comments on this below). The establishment of a ‘Protective Division’ is vital in our view to ensure that sensitive matters and/or those concerning vulnerable individuals are dealt with by appropriately trained specialist staff in a flexible manner. It appears that other states and territories have recognised this imperative and have divided their tribunals accordingly. Interestingly, according to the Discussion Paper, several states, including Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland have ‘Human Rights divisions’ within their civil and administrative tribunals that deal with related issues. TasCOSS sees this as further recognition of the link between tribunal functions and human rights – and adds weight to the need for enactment of overarching legislation to protect human rights in Tasmania. Need to maintain expertise TasCOSS is concerned to ensure that in the move to a single tribunal, specific area expertise is not lost. There is clearly a need to maintain appropriate expertise across the various jurisdictions within a centralised tribunal. While it is important that all matters before the tribunal are dealt with by people with appropriate skills, background knowledge and expertise, TasCOSS believes that it is particularly important in the protective division where vulnerability is high and issues are likely to be both sensitive and personal. The concern expressed by the Tasmanian Mental Health Tribunal (MHT) to the proposal for a single tribunal supports our view: The core issues for the MHT itself … relate to possible impairment of the existing specialised services and processes of the Tribunal as they currently stand and potential loss of expertise of members, and staff, as a result of amalgamation.6

TasCOSS believes that it is important that the ‘one-stop shop’ tribunal model recognises the need for specific jurisdictional knowledge and expertise and does not attempt to deliver services where ‘one-size fits all’. The employment of a large number of members, including sessional members in tribunals in other states and territories demonstrates the need for a single tribunal to have access to a wide range of knowledge and expertise both in-house and at-call. TasCOSS looks forward to participating in the next phase of this important process by considering and responding to the single tribunal options paper in coming months.

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A Single Tribunal for Tasmania, Discussion Paper, September 2015, page 110

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A single tribunal for Tasmania: Discussion Paper TasCOSS comments  

TasCOSS supports the two stage consultation process which includes an initial discussion paper followed by an options paper. Given this appr...

A single tribunal for Tasmania: Discussion Paper TasCOSS comments  

TasCOSS supports the two stage consultation process which includes an initial discussion paper followed by an options paper. Given this appr...