Thursday, August 11, 2016

Taking action for access to justice - an update on NCAT fees

A few weeks ago the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal fee structure for pensioners changed substantially with the result that basic application fee more than doubled for many tenants. We wrote previously about it here. Every dollar counts for pensioners and other concession card holders and we're worried that this increase in fees will create a barrier for vulnerable and disadvantaged tenants to lodging an application.

The change introduced a new method of calculation for concession fees, setting them as a percentage of the full fee.  This resulted in a significant increase in the standard fee this time around, but also means that whenever full fees increase, fees for pensioners will also increase at the same time.  Pensions don't generally increase at the same rate or frequency as average household incomes, so any future fee increases will be felt more sharply by pensioners.   

There's now a chance this change, which came without consultation, may be reversed by parliament. Greens Member of the Legislative Council, Jan Barham, has moved to disallow the new fee structure.

When this motion comes up for debate in parliament in a month or so's time, the cross bench Members of the Legislative Council will have the ability to support the motion, and push for the cost of NCAT applications for pensioners to revert to $5.

Now is a great time to get in touch with these MLC's to let them know about the potential impact of these changes on access to justice for vulnerable tenants. We've written a sample letter that you can personalise and adapt.  The most effective letters are those that are personal and passionate. You might want to talk about how this change could affect you or others you know, or mention that in other states, like the ACT and Victoria, the application fee is set at $0 for pensioners.

If you'd like to get in touch, here are the cross benchers details:
Animal Justice Party
Mark Pearson
Phone (02) 9230 2445
Fax (02) 9230 2599 

Christian Democratic Party
Paul Green
Phone (02) 9230 3484
Fax (02) 9230 2342

Fred Nile
Phone (02) 9230 2478
Fax (02) 9230 2098

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party
Robert Borsak
Phone (02) 9230 2850
Fax (02) 9230 2613

Robert Brown
Phone (02) 9230 3059
Fax (02) 9230 2613

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments PC - that is, polite and civilised. Comments may be removed at the discretion of the blog administrator; no correspondence will be entered into. Comments that are abusive of individual persons, or are sexist, racist or otherwise offensive will be removed, so don’t bother leaving them.