New appeals system

WESTERN Australia’s system of ministerial planning appeals has ended and a more transparent and accountable system has been implemented.

The Planning Appeals Amendment Bill 2002 came into effect last week and brought with it a new, expanded Planning Appeals Tribunal.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said WA was the last State to have a system of ministerial appeals.

“It was a system that lacked transparency and always had the potential to allow decisions to be tainted by allegations of political patronage,” she said.

“There were no hearings and no requirement that the parties involved were aware of each others claims.”

Ms MacTiernan said the new tribunal would be more flexible and effective than the current tribunal, with most appeals able to be heard by single members.

Peter McGowan will become the inaugural full-time president of the new tribunal and John Chaney SC will hold the part-time position of deputy president.

Two full-time senior members have been appointed to the tribunal: Belinda Moharich, who will also hold the position of principal registrar of the new tribunal; and Jim Jordan, who has until now been director of the Appeals Committee office.

An initial pool of five sessional senior members – Donald Brown, Lloyd Graham, Gordon Smith, Philip McAllister and John Adderley, and sessional ordinary members Roger Hope-Johnstone, Edward McKinnon and Marie Connor also have been appointed.

The registry of the tribunal will remain in the Kings Building (517 Hay Street) until the end of July. 

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