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Ombudsman Act 2001 – 1 July 2014

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There is to be an ombudsman who is an officer of the Parliament. The ombudsman may investigate administrative actions of agencies on complaint; or on the ombudsman’s own initiative. Further to this function, the ombudsman may make recommendations to the agency about the appropriate ways of addressing the effects of inappropriate administrative actions or for the improvement of the practices and procedures. For the definitions of ‘administrative action’, ‘agency’ and ‘administrative action of agency’, refer to sections 7, 8 and 10 of the Act. A complaint may be made by any person, or by any body of persons, whether incorporated or not, apparently directly affected by the (administrative) action. Note: A complaint must be made by the eligible entity within 1 year of notice of the (administrative) action. For grounds that may prompt a report and recommendation, refer to section 49 of the Act.

  • Sections 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 46, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 57, 90

The ombudsman may investigate an administrative action despite a provision in any Act to the effect that the action is final or cannot be appealed against, challenged, reviewed, quashed or called in question. Note: The ombudsman must not question the merits of a decision, including a policy decision, made by a Minister or Cabinet (or a decision that the ombudsman is satisfied has been taken for implementing a decision made by Cabinet) and any administrative action listed in subsection 16(2) of the Act, including: administrative action taken by- a tribunal, or a member of a tribunal, in the performance of the tribunal’s deliberative functions; a mediator at a mediation session under the Dispute Resolution Centres Act 1990; or the information commissioner in the performance of the commissioner’s functions under the Right to Information Act 2009 (section 128, 129, 130 or 131).

  • Sections 14, 16

The ombudsman may refuse to investigate a complaint if the ombudsman considers that the complainant has a right of appeal, reference or review, or another remedy (excluding a right under the Judicial Review Act 1991 to make an application to the Supreme Court), that the person has not exhausted; and it would be reasonable in the circumstances to require the person to exhaust the right or remedy before the ombudsman investigates the complaint. Note: The ombudsman may also refuse to investigate a complaint if the ombudsman considers that the complaint is trivial, frivolous, vexatious, etc.

  • Section 23

If a person gives a document to the ombudsman under an investigation requirement and the document did not exist before the investigation requirement and was created only for the purposes of complying with the requirement, the document is not admissible in evidence against a person in civil or criminal proceedings.

  • Section 48

If the ombudsman proposes to make an adverse comment about a person in a report under this Act, the ombudsman must not make the proposed adverse comment unless, before the report is prepared, the ombudsman gives the person an opportunity to make submissions about the proposed adverse comment.

  • Section 55
Reason for law

To give people a timely, effective, independent and just way of having administrative actions of agencies investigated; and to improve the quality of decision-making and administrative practice in agencies. (Section 5)

Relevant links

Queensland Ombudsman

Investigative Reports

Investigative Policies

Make a complaint

CTH: Commonwealth Ombudsman


Section 4: notes forming part of an Act is not common for Acts of Parliament.



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