Mary Drost, (Convenor of Planning Backlash Inc), Joanna Stanley (Brunswick Residents Group), and Ann Reid (Convenor of Malvern East Group) met VCAT President Justice Greg Garde on Wednesday April 18. One of our objectives in having this meeting was to persuade him to arrange a forum for residents such as the ones previously arranged by Justice Kevin Bell and Iain Ross some years ago. Both of those men had actually listened to residents and had approached the then Attorney General to have some changes made to procedure so the "natural justice" would get more attention in the Planning and Environment section of VCAT than had previously been the case. Alas, apart from two minor changes no actual reform was permitted.
Justice Garde's reaction to our request was interesting. He said he would speak at a meeting but did not seem interested in following the previous Presidents and arranging a meeting to hear residents' opinions. He explained that VCAT was run by handpicked professionals who followed the rules to the letter.