Mediation with Parks Victoria

Hi Climbers

Since the VCC’s last update, there has been some discussion about the mediation that the CEO of PV invited the VCC to attend. The following may add some context regarding this.

  • In almost all legal proceedings, parties will be ordered by the relevant authority to participate in mediation. If ordered to do so, it is compulsory for the parties to attend and it is standard for the mediation itself to be conducted confidentially. In matters involving government decisions this is less common but not unusual.
  • Given this, there is no basis for the suggestion that a mediation “behind closed doors” is suspicious or unusual.
  • The VCC has not filed any proceedings against PV (or its officers) yet. It is also not unusual for mediations to occur between parties prior to proceedings being filed. Obviously, those sorts of mediations are not compulsory. Usually, it is the person disputing the decision that will try to seek a mediation. In this case, PV extended this invitation to the VCC.
  • There are time limits for the filing of challenges. These have now passed. Well prior to this occurring, the VCC formally requested written reasons from PV and signalled it may challenge the closure decisions. As a result of PV’s delay in providing reasons, it gave written assurances to VCC that it would not rely upon the time limits to the VCC’s disadvantage.
  • The VCC has requested PV to again undertake, for the period of any mediation (and related steps) to not rely upon the time limits to the VCC’s disadvantage. PV is yet to confirm this, but the VCC expects that it will.
  • This means that the VCC, unlike any other climbing organisation in this space, is in a position to file proceedings without PV relying upon any time limits. It also means that the VCC can hear from PV as to potential ways of resolving this issue. Lastly, while the mediation itself is confidential, it will still present a unique opportunity for the VCC to see how PV may put its case and for the VCC to press PV regarding weaknesses in the closure decisions.
  • As per the update, the VCC would not agree to any confidential negotiated outcome. Any such outcome would not (and could not) bind persons other than the VCC members. Any other climbing organisations would be free, subject to time limitations (etc), to pursue legal proceedings. No organisation has taken any such steps to date.

Cheers 🍻
Your VCC

P.S.: If you have time on Monday evening (3.6.), come to our pub info night.