Port Management Act 1995

VCAT can review certain decisions made by Ports Victoria under the Port Management Act 1995.

This page provides general information and shouldn't be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you're unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.

The Port Management Act 1995 sets out the establishment, management and operation of commercial trading and local ports in Victoria and the economic regulation of certain port services.

The Act also provides for the imposition of certain port charges or fees and requires the engagement of licensed harbour masters and sets out the functions of harbour masters.

Cases we can hear

An eligible person may apply to VCAT for review of a decision made by Ports Victoria:

  • refusing an application for a towage licence or pilotage services licence
  • imposing conditions on a towage service licence
  • imposing a new condition on a renewed towage licence or towage service licence
  • refusing an application for renewal of a towage service licence
  • amending or removing a condition on a towage service licence or renewed towage licence
  • refusing to amend or remove a condition on a towage service licence
  • taking disciplinary action.

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

Sections 73ZA and 73ZP of the Port Management Act 1995

Documents you need to apply

If you have a decision document, use it to help you complete your VCAT application and provide a copy of the document when submitting your application.

Time limits

You must apply within 28 days from the time:

  • the decision was made, or
  • if you have requested a statement of reasons under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act, the statement of reasons is given to you or you 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 may 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 does not agree, VCAT may hold a preliminary hearing before deciding whether to grant an extension.

What can VCAT order?

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 decision under review 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 does not 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.

Make an application

You may have to pay a fee to apply to VCAT to review a decision. Learn more about fees or apply for fee relief.

Print-friendly application form

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.