Victoria Shadow Minister for WorkCover Gordon Rich-Phillips
Labor Allows Spoilt VWA To Clog Victorian Courts
Victor P Taffa
In an unprecedented act the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, the Hon. Marilyn Warren AC has used her annual report to Parliament to call for Section 134AD of the Accident Compensation Act to be amended, noting it is responsible for clogging up Victoria’s Appeals Courts.
This provision states that Appeal Courts must decide for themselves if a serious injury has occurred rather than relying on a determination from a lower court.
According to the Chief Justice this has resulted in multiple appellant judges being tied up on matters that should be heard by a single County Court Judge.
“It is truly extraordinary that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has to be calling for amendments to legislation.” Shadow WorkCover Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips said.
“Despite the Chief Justice and other judges having pressed for an amendment to the Act, the WorkCover Minister has failed to heed the call, choosing instead to pander to the Victorian WorkCover Authority which has used this provision to its benefit while contributing to even bigger court backlogs.” Mr. Rich-Phillips said.
“Clearly the Victorian WorkCover Authority is pressuring the Brumby Government to keep this provision as it allows the authority to have a second bite of the cherry if it should happen to get a decision it doesn’t like in the County Court. It also allows them to tie injured workers up in legal red tape for many years.”
“This is an abuse of the appeals process and by refusing to remove the provision the WorkCover Minister is denying injured workers their right to a fast settlement, and in doing so is forcing unfair financial burdens upon them and their families.”
“This continued inaction by an ineffective Labor Minister is resulting in our Appeals Courts and justice system being clogged to such an extent it is causing great concern for our judiciary.” Mr. Rich-Phillips said.