Apply for an exemption

VCAT can grant temporary exemptions from the provisions of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 in appropriate circumstances.

While the exemption is in place, the otherwise discriminatory conduct is not against the law.

VCAT can grant, renew or revoke an exemption under section 90 of the Act. In making a decision, the VCAT member considers:

  • whether the proposed exemption is unnecessary because an exception or exemption already applies, or the conduct would not amount to discrimination, including where the conduct is a special measure under section 12 of the Act.
  • whether the proposed exemption is a reasonable limitation on the rights to equality set out in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities
  • all relevant circumstances of the case.

Learn more about exemptions and revoking exemptions in the Equal Opportunity Exemption factsheet.

Some VCAT decisions on exemptions are on the AustLII website. If VCAT grants, renews or revokes an exemption, a notice will be published in the Government Gazette

Cases we can't help with

We can’t accept:

  • some cases where one party lives in another state or is a Commonwealth government organisation
  • cases heard under federal law instead of Victorian law.

Before you apply

A person can also make an application on behalf of a group of people. This is called a ‘representative application’. If you are considering making this type of application, you may discuss the issue with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission or consider obtaining independent legal advice.

You must also provide an affidavit in support of your application detailing the reasons you are seeking an exemption. You can also provide any material that you feel will support your application, such as copies of previous exemptions and any other material relevant to your application. You must provide a copy of your application to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. 


We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.

We cannot give you legal advice. This means we cannot tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.

Seek legal help if you are unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.

Find legal services that may be able to assist you.

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality.

Legislation that applies to this type of case

Equal Opportunity Act 2010

Organisations that may be able to help you

VCAT can't offer you legal advice. Below are organisations that may be able to help with your case.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

Information and education about equal opportunity and racial and religious vilification. They also provide a dispute resolution service and education, training and consultancy services.

Victoria Legal Aid

Free legal information over the phone. Call 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm.