Last updated 20 May 2022
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) was established in 2009, combining 18 tribunals and 23 jurisdictions to a single tribunal. The following appeals tribunals and entities continue to operate separately from QCAT:
- Mental Health Review Tribunal and Mental Health Court
- Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and Industrial Court
- development tribunals, Planning and Environment Court and the Land Court, although QCAT can determine some commercial building disputes.
QCAT operates in much the same way as the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), and many of the principles that guide the way in which QCAT hears and determines appeals mirror the principles applied in the AAT.
QCAT has jurisdiction to review a range of government decisions including in relation to blue card applications, freedom of information requests, and animal care and regulation. For further information, see the following chapters:
- decisions made by the Queensland Information Commissioner: Right to Information and Freedom of Information chapter
- decisions made that contravene human rights, where there is another legal complaint that can be brought in QCAT such as a discrimination complaint: Human Rights Law in Queensland chapter.
The QCAT website contains guidance on the administrative appeals jurisdiction of QCAT, application forms, processes and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms contained within QCAT’s statutory regime.
What decisions can be reviewed
In order to determine whether an administrative appeal application can be brought in QCAT, the applicant may need to check the Act or subordinate legislation under which the decision was made and confirm whether the particular decision is externally reviewable in QCAT.
Decisions externally reviewable in QCAT include those made by:
- the Queensland Information Commissioner in relation to information access and amendment applications
- Blue Card Services including the issue of a negative notice
- Biosecurity Queensland in relation to the seizure and forfeit of animals.
QCAT also has jurisdiction to review certain decisions made by the Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships. This includes decisions in relation to Queensland Disability Screening and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) under the Disability Services Act 2006 (Qld).
The QCAT website includes a full list of legislation giving jurisdiction to QCAT.
The conferring legislation will set out the review process, including whether internal review is required before bringing a QCAT administrative appeal and any time limits that apply.
Often the correspondence communicating a decision will also contain information about whether the decision is reviewable in QCAT and the time limits.
The function of QCAT in reviewing a decision
In exercising its review jurisdiction, the tribunal:
- must decide the review in accordance with the enabling act or subordinate legislation under which the decision was made
- may perform functions conferred by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) (QCAT Act) or enactment under which the decision was made
- has all the functions of the decision maker who made the reviewable decisions (s 19 QCAT Act).