Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005
VCAT can review certain decisions of the Commission for Children and Young People or a sector regulator under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005.
This page provides general information and should not be considered legal advice. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.
The Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 sets out the principles for children's wellbeing and establishes regulatory and enforcement bodies who provide oversight and ensure compliance with child safety standards. The Act establishes a reporting mechanism to the Commission for Children and Young People for allegations of reportable conduct or misconduct by employees of certain entities.
Cases we can hear
An employee may apply for a review of the Commission's decision that they have committed reportable conduct.
A relevant entity may apply for a review of a sector regulator's decision to issue a notice to comply or to publish details of non-noncompliance under section 36I.
Before applying to VCAT, the employee or relevant entity must have exhausted all available avenues of internal review of the decision.
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.
Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications
Documents you need to apply
If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete the VCAT application form and attach a copy of the document to your application.
You must apply to VCAT within 28 days of:
- the decision being made; or
- if you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998, the statement of reasons is given to you or are informed that a statement of reasons will not be given.
Check the decision letter carefully for time limits to apply to VCAT and any other conditions. Remember you have to apply for internal review first.
If you apply outside of the time limit, VCAT may extend the time for making an application. You must ask for an extension of time by indicating this on the ‘extension of time’ question of the application form and briefly explaining why your application was late.
VCAT will ask the decision maker if they agree to any extension. If the decision maker doesn't agree, VCAT may hold a preliminary hearing before deciding whether to grant an extension.
What can VCAT order?
Unless the Act gives VCAT different powers, VCAT can:
- affirm the original decision, in which case the original decision will stand
- vary the decision
- set aside the decision and substitute our own decision
- set aside the decision and send back the matter for reconsideration by the decision maker giving directions or recommendations
- invite the decision maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case.
Putting the original decision on hold
In most cases, applying for a review does not put the original decision on hold and that decision stands until VCAT makes its decision.
If you want the original decision put on hold, you must ask for this by indicating you want a ‘stay’ on the application form and briefly explaining why you are seeking a stay.
It may not be possible to put the decision on hold if there would be no practical effect in doing so.
VCAT will ask the decision maker if they agree to any stay. If the decision maker doesn't agree, VCAT may hold a preliminary hearing before deciding whether to grant a stay.
We can explain the application process and what the form is asking you for. Contact us to get support.
We can't give you legal advice. This means we can't tell you what to write in your application or recommend how to get the outcome you want.
Seek legal help if you're unsure about your options or need advice about your claim.
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You don't need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you want to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.
Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.
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.