Welcome to our Victorian Government Bulletin, a monthly wrap-up of key news, reports and cases of interest to Victorian government employees.

In the media

Victoria Legal Aid: A new client referral process to support high-quality and consistent child protection legal services
We are introducing a new, fairer and more transparent referral process to help more people across the state access consistent child protection legal services (24 May 2019). More...

Crime prevention grants to boost community safety in Victoria
Applications are now open for up to $3 million in crime prevention grants, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government's Public Safety Infrastructure Fund. Projects that could receive funding include lighting upgrades, streetscape and other amenity improvements, or the installation of CCTV cameras in high-risk areas (16 May 2019). More...

Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass elected to board of global Ombudsman body
Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass has been elected to the board of the International Ombudsman Institute, which connects more than 190 Ombudsman offices world-wide (10 May 2019). More...

Telcos warned for not helping vulnerable consumers
Eleven telcos have been hit with formal warnings by the Australian Communications and Media Authority for failing to tell potential new customers that they do not provide Priority Assistance services, or failing to name a telco that does (07 May 2019). More...

Steelvision conduct referred to Victoria Police
This inquiry has identified suspected fraudulent conduct by the company in relation to its Latrobe Valley Economic Facilitation Fund grant and the department has now referred these matters to Victoria Police for investigation (03 May 2019). More...

Suppression order overhaul passes parliament
Victims of sexual or family violence who want to speak publicly about their experiences will have more freedom to do so thanks to new laws from the Andrews Labor Government. The Open Courts and Other Acts Amendment Bill 2019, which passed Parliament, amends existing laws to reinforce the presumption in favour of open justice (02 May 2019). More...

New scheme to support family law cross-examination ban
The Family Law Act 1975 has been amended to ban direct cross examination in cases where there is family violence. The changes will apply to hearings that occur from 11 September 2019 onwards. The Commonwealth Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties Scheme is funded by the Commonwealth Government and will be administered in Victoria by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) (01 May 2019). More...

IBAC forwards complaint regarding government advertising to the Victorian Public Sector Commission
IBAC, Victoria's independent anti-corruption commission forwarded a complaint from the State Opposition regarding a Victorian government advertising campaign to the Victorian Public Sector Commissioner for consideration (30 April 2019). More...

In practice and courts

VLRC- Contempt of Court - Release of Consultation Paper
The Commission's consultation paper on contempt of court was published online on 23 May on the Commission's website (link below) together with a summary document. The closing date for written submissions is 28 June 2019. More...

Online sentencing database updated with new statistics and summary reports
The Council has released updated sentencing statistics on SACStat (Sentencing Advisory Council Statistics Online), the Council's online statistical database. SACStat now includes sentencing data for over 200 offences sentenced in the higher courts (the County and Supreme Courts) of Victoria over the five years to 30 June 2018 (24 May 2019). More...

Current Senate Inquiries

AHRC: Commission calls for public submissions
The AHRC has released an issues paper for 'Free and Equal': An Australian conversation on human rights' and has called for public submissions. Submissions are open until 12 July 2019. See the terms of reference, and issues paper (03 May 2019). More...


Open Courts and Other Acts Amendment Act 2019
Assented to 7 May 2019 - The main purposes of this Act are; (a) to amend the Open Courts Act 2013 in relation to the prohibition and restriction of the publication of information in court and tribunal proceedings; and (b) to make related amendments to the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 and the Judicial Proceedings Reports Act 1958.

Published – articles, papers, reports

Compliance with the Asset Management Accountability Framework
VAGO: Tabled: 23 May 2019
Victoria's roads, railways, schools, prisons and hospitals are part of the $265 billion of non-financial assets that government departments and agencies manage. Many of our audits show that asset management is often neglected or poorly done. We made 11 recommendations. Four were directed to all departments and one to the audit committees of all departments. More...

Proud, visible, safe
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission: 17 May 2019
This report examines the experiences of LGBTIQ employees at Victoria Police. The report finds that Victoria Police is committed to building an organisational culture that is safe for LGBTIQ employees – but that there still a way to go Proud, visible, safe.

Firearms offences: current sentencing practices
Anusha Kenny, Zsombor Bathy; Sentencing Advisory Council (Vic): 15 May 2019
This report examines trends in the prevalence and sentencing of firearms offences in Victoria. It considers 132 firearms offence provisions sentenced in Victorian courts in the five years from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2017 (the reference period). More...

Notifiable Data Breaches scheme: 12-month insights report
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner: 13 May 2019
Entities regulated by the Privacy Act should review this report and use the learnings to enhance their prevention and response strategies for the benefit of all Australians. One of the key messages taken from this inaugural review of the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme is that entities must put individuals first. More...

Sexism and gender inequality in the Victorian legal and justice sector
Monica Campo, Lynda Memery, Nina Ulasowski; Women's Legal Service Victoria: 30 April 2019.
This discussion paper outlines stories from almost 300 legal sector professionals which show that sexual harassment and disrespect towards women is pervasive, women's career prospects are routinely stunted and victim-blaming is common. More...

Report of PBO operations for the 2018 Victorian general election
Parliamentary Budget Office (Vic): 30 April 2019.
The Victorian Parliamentary Budget Office prepared 1044 independent election policy costing responses for the 2018 general election costing period. More...


Hive & Wellness Australia Pty Ltd v Mulvany [2019] VSC 273
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE - Summary judgment/strike out application - Whether defence of qualified privilege has a real, and not fanciful prospect of success.
DEFAMATION - Defences - Qualified privilege at common law - Publication to the world at large - Public interest in food safety and regulation - Whether defendant had an interest in making the defamatory statements and the recipients had a reciprocal interest in receiving them - Voluntary disclosure of information to a broad audience about the conduct of the chief executive officer of a private business - Public interest and concern insufficient to establish reciprocity - Whether the publications could attract the defence of qualified privilege by reason of the implied freedom of communication with respect to government and political matters - Summary judgment granted.
DEFAMATION - Defences - Qualified privilege - Reply to attack - Whether reply by defendant privileged - Kennett v Farmer [1998] VR 991, referred to - Properly the subject of full evidence and argument at trial.

Herrington v Lawrence [2019] VSC 319
JUDICIAL REVIEW - Application for leave to appeal decision of VCAT - Whether identified error of law - Whether real or significant argument that error exists - Whether grant of leave just in all the circumstances - Supreme Court (Miscellaneous Civil Procedure) Rules 2018 r 4.08(8) considered - Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet v Hulls [1999] VSCA 117; [1999] 3 VR 331 referred to.
RES JUDICATA - Cause of action estoppel - Issue estoppel - Anshun estoppel - Previous proceedings before VCAT issued under incorrect legislative provisions - Previous proceedings dismissed as being issued under incorrect provisions - Whether final determination on the merits - Whether unreasonable not to raise correct cause of action.
CIVIL PROCEDURE - Application for leave to amend notice of appeal - Application made at hearing of appeal - Whether prejudice to respondent.

Valeo Construction v Tiling Expert [2019] VSC 291
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - Judicial review - Relief in the nature of certiorari - Injunctions - Declarations - Whether Adjudication Determination is vitiated by jurisdictional error - Error of law on the face of the record - Review of jurisdictional facts - Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 (Vic), r 56. BUILDING CONTRACTS.

Total Transport Pty Ltd v Tasiopoulos [2019] VSC 266
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - Judicial review - Opinion of a Medical Panel - Panel found that worker's physical injuries had resolved, but that worker had an incapacity for his pre-injury employment - Whether Panel's opinion not open, or grossly illogical or irrational - Whether Panel's reasons adequate - Proceeding dismissed - Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2013 (Vic) ss 3, 160, 313.

Shao v AG Advanced Construction Pty Ltd [2019] VSCA 93
BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION - Whether termination under s 41 extinguishes damages claim for defective work.
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW - Appeals - Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998, s 148 - Appeal allowed - Whether to exercise power of Tribunal to order refund - Whether to remit proceeding to Tribunal - Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998 s 148(7)(b) and (c).

Country Fire Authority v Lockyer (Review and Regulation) [2019] VCAT 667
Review and Regulation List - Freedom of Information Act - exemptions - internal working documents - information provided in confidence - personal affairs - legal professional privilege - public interest override - s 30(i) - s 32 - s 33 - s 35(2)(b) - s 50(4).




No 11 Open Courts and Other Acts Amendment Act 2019 - Assented to 7 May 2019.

Statutes - New Versions

Corrections Regulations 200940 / 18 - 26 April 2019.
Corrections (Victims Register) Regulations 2014 25 002 - 28 April 2019.
Corrections (Police Gaols) Regulations 2015 94 003 – 28 April 2019.
County Court Civil Procedure Rules 2018 170 00 - 21 May 2019.
Victorian legislation can be accessed here www.legislation.vic.gov.au

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.