QCAT President: More resourcing needed for ‘overstretched’ tribunal

The President of Queensland’s ‘super tribunal’ says increased resourcing is imperative for it to achieve a “sustainable model” of the jurisdiction established 13 years ago.

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) President Justice Kerri Mellifont, in her first annual report since being appointed head of jurisdiction almost a year ago, said all areas of the tribunal were “overstretched” and that increased resourcing was sorely needed.

The QCAT 2021-22 Annual Report, tabled in Parliament this week, shows the tribunal has achieved a 108% clearance rate – up 14% on the previous year.

While there has been a fall in cases lodged in the previous year due to the impact of COVID 19, Justice Mellifont said the tribunal was anticipating an immediate return to in-person hearings as a result of the recent lifting of quarantine restrictions.

QCAT commenced on 1 December 2009, the result of combining 18 tribunals covering 23 jurisdictions into one ‘super tribunal’.

“Having been at QCAT now for almost 11 months, I am still struck by the enormity of its remit,” Justice Mellifont says in the 43-page report. “What a behemoth it has become since its inception.


“The breadth and diversity of its current jurisdiction, the volume of matters it now deals with, the geographical reach it needs to operate, providing services, often to vulnerable members of the Queensland community, would not have been fully foreseen when it was created back in 2009.

“In all areas of its work, QCAT is overstretched.

“In the term of my presidency my aim, through a respectful dialogue with stakeholders and government, is to see QCAT resourced in a way which moves towards sustainability, particularly in QCAT’s guardianship and administration jurisdiction, which exists to serve some of Queensland’s most vulnerable citizens and touches the daily lives of thousands of (people).”

Justice Mellifont said increased resourcing in membership, registry and business support functions was imperative to achieve a sustainable model.

“Furthermore, it is critical that any significant increase in support to that work of QCAT does not come at a cost to QCAT’s ability to operate in its other jurisdictions,” she said.

“While those proposals are being developed, QCAT is not standing still. It is working on business processes in aiming to achieve more with the same resources.”


View the QCAT annual report.

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