The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) has been briefed by Attorney-General Robert McClelland to commence a review of the Royal Commissions Act 1902.
As part of the review, it will examine whether less formal alternatives to a Royal Commission may be appropriate for some inquiries.
McClelland said that while Royal Commissions have served as an important means of inquiry and source of advice to the Government, they tend to be "highly technical, time consuming and expensive".
"While there will always be a need to be able to establish a Royal Commission, it is timely to consider whether faster and more flexible inquiries may be appropriate in some cases," he said.
The ALRC will also examine whether legislation needs to be amended to provide inquiries with increased powers and people with appropriate protection.
In carrying out the review, the ALRC will consult with stakeholders including Commonwealth, state and territory agencies, and its final report is to be provided to McClelland by 30 October 2009.
- Zoe Lyon