THE state government has expanded its efforts to unclog the VCAT dispute resolution system of consumer complaints by extending its Fast Track Mediation and Hearing system to Ballarat.
Applicable civil disputes valued between $500 and $5000 will now have an appointed mediator to help parties reach an agreement, under the scheme.
Failing an agreement the system is also promising same-day hearings by VCAT, allowing matters to be resolved as quickly as possible.
The service, a partnership between VCAT and the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria, was a result of the Access to Justice Review which attempted to identify ways to those unfamiliar with the legal system, especially the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, to resolve everyday legal issues.
DSCV will offer the services free of charge in an effort to resolve minor civil matters and ease the load of 83,000 cases VCAT has to deal with each year.