Attorney General Joe Berinson said the Government had already given in principle support to two reports on administrative appeals procedures released by the Law Reform Commission in 1982 (part 1) and 1986 (part 2).
The majority of the recommendations were being pursued by the Government, including the key recommendation to establish a single, simplified procedure for review of all administrative decisions.
A great deal of work had been carried out to identify the mass of statutes subject to specific appeal procedures, assess their various appeal processes, and determine how these would be accommodated under the types of changes proposed by the Law Reform Commission.
"It is a massive task due to the huge variation in appeal procedures currently operating," Mr Berinson said.
"Some Acts make provision for specific appeal tribunals to operate, some are subject to appeal to the Supreme Court, others to the local court, others to a magistrate, and some to specific persons such as a Commissioner."
Examples ranged from the Psychologists' Registration Act, where appeals were heard by the Supreme Court; the Motor Vehicle Dealers' Act where appeals were heard by the local court and the Hairdressers' Registration Act where appeals went to a magistrate; to the State Energy Commission, which had its own appeal tribunal and the Health Act, where some appeals were heard by the Health Commissioner.
Mr Berinson said information was being collated on an ongoing basis, including analysis of arguments put forward for retaining present structures due to the specialist nature of some areas subject to appeal. The Law Reform Commission itself had recommended retention of some structures, such as the Land Valuation Tribunal and Town Planning Appeals Tribunal.
He said Cabinet had approved the drafting of legislation, but the timetable for completion was subject to the constraints imposed by the size of the task and the lack of either numbers or nature of difficulties to justify giving the project higher priority.
The Bill would not be dealt with in this year's legislative program.
In regard to the recommendation about the right of appellants to have detailed reasons for decisions, Mr Berinson said he had reservations about its practicality.
Experience in other jurisdictions suggested the additional workload and the cost of implementing the recommendation would be out of proportion to the benefit. Nevertheless, this aspect could be further considered before the legislation was finalised.
He noted that appellants currently could seek reasons through the Minister, the Ombudsman, and to an extent through existing judicial review procedures.
"The fact that the Law Reform Commission spent eight years reviewing these matters, and split them into two parts, is indicative of the complexity of the issue," he said.
"Their first working paper was released in 1978, followed by another in 1981. The final reports were released in 1982 and 1986."