Wildlife Act 1975 (review)

This page provides general information and should not be considered as legal advice. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about your legal rights. Be aware that the law can change.

VCAT can review certain decisions made by the Secretary to the Department of Environment and Primary Industries or the Game Management Authority about licences, authorisations or permits granted under the Wildlife Act 1975.

The Wildlife Act 1975 does not apply to fish within the meaning of the Fisheries Act 1995.

Cases we can hear

You may be able to apply to VCAT for a review of the Secretary or the Authority’s decision to:

  • refuse to grant a licence, authorisation or permit
  • refuse to renew a licence, authorisation or permit
  • suspend or cancel a licence, authorisation or permit

if

  • you have made the application for the particular decision or
  • you are the holder of the licence, permit or authorisation which was the subject of the decision or failure to decide.

You may also be able to apply to VCAT for a review if the Secretary or the Authority has failed to make such a decision within a reasonable time.

Cases we cannot hear

VCAT cannot review decisions made under the Act by authorised officers or police officers to take enforcement action under the Act, including to search or seize, obtain a search warrant, issue a notice, or institute legal proceedings for alleged offences under the Act.

VCAT cannot review decisions of the Governor-in Council in relation to authorisation orders under Part IIIB.

Legislation that gives VCAT the power to hear these applications

Different parts of the Act set out the decisions the Secretary or Authority can make that VCAT can review:

  • wildlife and game licences [Part III]
  • authorisations to do certain things in relation to wildlife [Part IIIA]
  • permits to do certain things in relation to whales, whale-watching tour permits, whale swim tour permits [Part X]; seal tour permits [Part XA].

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

You must make your application within 28 days after the later of the day on which

  • 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.

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 Definition A person who makes or has made a decision under legislation that gives them this authority. giving directions or recommendations
  • invite the decision-maker to reconsider their decision at any time during the case .

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. Be aware that the regulatory body in most cases uses legal representation.

Find free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.

Need help with your application?

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. The following services may be able to help 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. For more about applying for confidentiality.