Community services

NCAT can review certain community services decisions made by a government or non-government agency.

Community services cases are managed through NCAT's Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division.

NCAT reviews community services decisions made by a government or non-government agency under section 28 of the Community Services (Complaints, Reviews and Monitoring Act 1993.

In most cases, you will receive a letter informing you of your right to have the decision reviewed by NCAT. Not all decisions made by an agency can be reviewed.

What can NCAT review?

Children education and c​​​are services

NCAT can review decisions made under the Children (Education and Care Services) National Law (NSW) including:

  • ​suspending or cancelling a provider approval or service approval of child education care services
  • suspending or cancelling a supervisor certificate​.

​Authorised car​​​ers

NCAT can review decisions made under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 including:

  • ​granting an 'authorised carer' (foster parent) responsibility for the day-to-day care and control of a child or young person, or removing this responsibility
  • authorising or not authorising a person to be an 'authorised carer'
  • cancelling, suspending or imposing conditions on a person's authorisation.

Adoption ser​​​vices​

NCAT can review certain decisions made under the Adoption Act 2000​ (or Adoption Information Act 1990) including:

  • ​failure or refusal to provide adoption information or assistance​
  • the suitability of an applicant to adopt
  • accreditation of adoption service providers.

Disability serv​​​ice​​s

NCAT can review decisions under the Disability Inclusion Act 2014 about financial assistance to persons with disability.

Steps in a review of a community services decision

Step by step guide to an administrative review of a community services decision.

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The agency which made the decision will tell you if your decision can be reviewed. If you are unsure whether NCAT can review a decision, you may need to check the relevant Act.


Generally, you have to ask the government department or agency to review the decision before coming to NCAT. This is called an internal review. You must request an internal review within 28 days of being told of the decision.


In some cases, you can apply to NCAT for a review of a decision about a child care provider or authorised carer (foster parent) without applying for an internal review first. This is the case when:

  • a decision is exempt from an internal review; or

  • an urgent review of the decision is needed to protect your interests


Check with the relevant government department or agency if your decision is exempt from an internal review.


If you do not agree with the internal review decision or you have not received a response from the government agency to your request for an internal review within 21 days, you may apply to NCAT to have the decision reviewed.

You can either present your own case to NCAT or have a lawyer or non-lawyer agent represent you. You will usually need to attend the hearing to give your instructions to your lawyer or agent.


Your lawyer or agent needs complete a Notice of Representation and submit to NCAT in person or by post. If a non-lawyer agent is representing you, you also need to sign the notice before it is submitted. In both cases, you have to send a copy of the notice to the government agency or department.


Your agent needs to ask for permission to represent you from the Tribunal Member the next time the case is listed. You should attend with the agent in case NCAT does not allow the agent to appear for you. A lawyer does not need to ask for permission from the Member.

You will need to provide the following information on your application:

  • Your name, address and telephone number
  • The name of the government agency that made the decision you want reviewed
  • The date the decision and the internal review decision, if any, were made
  • A copy of the original decision and internal review decision, if any (this is normally the letter sent to you by the government agency)
  • A brief outline of why you think the decision is wrong.
Last updated:

08 Sep 2022

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