Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (review)

VCAT has a limited power to review certain decisions made by the Chief Health Officer, the Secretary to the Department of Health and Human Services, and local councils under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.

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.

Cases we can hear

You can apply for a review if you applied to the Secretary under section 204(1) of the Act for compensation for loss suffered because of a decision by the Chief Health Officer under section 199 (authorisation to an authorised officer to exercise public health risk and emergency powers) and you are dissatisfied with the decision by the Secretary to refuse compensation or the decision as to the amount payable.

If you applied to the Secretary, you can apply to VCAT for a review of the Secretary's decision:

  • about the certification or revocation of certification of a person as an approved auditor under section 94 of the Act
  • about the issue, variation, renewal, cancellation or suspension of a pest control licence under section 101 or section 105 of the Act
  • made on an application for review by the Secretary under section 206.

If you applied to a local council, you can apply to VCAT for a review of the council's decision:

  • under section 76 of the Act to cancel or suspend registration regarding: prescribed accommodation (see section 3); or premises for businesses of beauty therapy, colonic irrigation, hairdressing, skin penetration, tattooing, or other prescribed business
  • made on a review by the council under section 205, of a decision under section 74 or 76.

If you are subject to a public health order made by the Chief Health Officer, you may directly apply to the Chief Health Officer for a review of the order. For more information, see: Review a public health order made by the Chief Medical Officer.

Cases we cannot hear

VCAT cannot review decisions to issue improvement or prohibition notices under the Act. Any appeal about those notices must go to the Magistrates Court of Victoria.

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 204 and 207 of the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008

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.

Time limits

In the case of a public health order you can apply at any time while the order is in force.

In all other cases you must make your application for review within 28 days of:

  • the decision being made, or
  • if applicable, the day you were notified you have the right to apply for a review, 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.

You may be able to apply for an extension to this time limit.

What can VCAT order?

Unless the relevant Act of Parliament gives us 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 remit (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.


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.