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Statutes Amendment (SACAT Federal Diversity Jurisdiction) Bill

Second reading

The Hon. J.A. DARLEY (17:30): I rise in support of this bill. The bill will allow for residential tenancy matters to be transferred to the Magistrates Court if a situation arises where the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, otherwise known as SACAT, would not be able to hear the matter.

I understand there is a need for this to occur due to a High Court decision that found that the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal, or NCAT, did not have the authority to hear matters that require them to exercise federal judicial powers. This came to light because the NCAT had to hear a dispute between residents of different states. The matter was referred to the High Court, which found that NCAT did not have the authority to hear the matter.

As there is no other jurisdiction in South Australia that can hear residential tenancy matters, this bill is a pre-emptive measure to ensure that South Australia will not be caught out if similar matters are presented to SACAT. I understand that any matters transferred to the Magistrates Court will have the same fee structure as if it were to be heard at SACAT, so members of the community will not be financially disadvantaged.

The court will also have the same powers and functions as SACAT conferred upon it. I understand that without this bill the community may face some issues with landlords being unable to take action against tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act. The government has shown great forethought in moving this amendment, and I support the bill.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. D.G.E. Hood.