Last updated 20 May 2022
A statement of reasons is aimed at explaining the reasons for the decision and avenues of review and will contain important information for any merits review of the decision. It may be referred to as ‘a statement of reasons’, ‘written notice reasons’ or ‘grounds for the decision’. This information may be contained in a letter from the government department or attached separately.
Reasons for the decision will often be given by government decision makers whether or not the decision is reviewable in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). The Act or Regulation under which the decision was made may also require the decision maker to give written reasons for decisions even where they are not reviewable in QCAT.
Where a decision is reviewable in QCAT, a written notice of the decision must be given by the decision maker (s 157 Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) (QCAT Act)). A reviewable decision is one for which QCAT is conferred administrative appeal jurisdiction by the enabling Act (s 17 QCAT Act).
The notice must state:
- the decision
- the reasons of the decision
- the right to have the decision review
- how and in what time period the person may apply for review
- any right to have the decision stayed (s 157 (2) QCAT Act).
Under the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld) where an Act requires a decision maker to give written reasons for a decision, the statement of reasons must also:
- set out the findings on material questions of fact
- refer to the evidence or other material on which findings were based (s 27B).
The enactment under which the decision was made may require decision makers to include certain content in the statement of reasons. For example, the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) requires the name and role of the decision maker to be included (s 191).
Where written reasons have not accompanied a reviewable decision, a request for written reasons may be made to the decision maker. The request must be made in writing within 14 days of being given notice of the decision. Written reasons must then be supplied within 28 days of the request (s 158 QCAT Act).
If written reasons are not provided, the applicant can then apply to QCAT for an order that written decisions be provided (s 159 QCAT Act).
In circumstances in which an applicant is not entitled to a statement of reasons, information about the decision may be sought under the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) and Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld). See Complaints against Government—Administrative Law and the Right to Information and Freedom of Information chapters.