Eligibility and what can and can’t be reviewed

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What can and can't be reviewed?

An APS employee can apply for review if they are an ongoing or non-ongoing employee. SES employees are not eligible to seek review.

An APS employee can apply for review of an ‘APS action’. An APS action is a decision made, action taken or process followed that relates to the APS employee’s employment. It can also include a refusal or failure to act.

An APS employee cannot apply for review of an action that affected a colleague or if they have no direct personal interest in the action. An APS employee similarly cannot apply for review of an action related to their experience as a client of an APS agency.

Some common general employment matters concern:

You can also seek review of:

Are all decisions and actions reviewable?

Not all decisions and actions are reviewable (Regulation 5.23 and Schedule 1 of the Public Service Regulations). You can view the exclusions in Schedule 1 of the Public Service Regulations.

The most important exception is termination of employment. Termination of employment is reviewable by the Fair Work Commission.

Matters reviewed by a court or tribunal (for example the Fair Work Commission) are not eligible for review under this scheme.

Most staff selection, staff placement and recruitment decisions are not reviewable. 

However, promotion decisions for  APS 1–6 level jobs are reviewable. They may be reviewed by a promotion review committee. 

Engagement of a Parliamentary Service employee may be reviewable in some circumstances.


  • reduction in classification
  • relocation to another place in certain situations
  • serious defects in an EL 1 or EL 2 promotion process
  • some staff placement decisions.

Not reviewable

  • engagement decisions
  • movement or transfer at level
  • assigning or not assigning duties (ongoing or temporary).

Other non-reviewable actions are:

  • machinery of government decisions
  • decisions made by a promotion review committee or an independent advisory selection committee
  • policy, restructure or resourcing decisions made by your agency
  • decisions made under certain legislation, for example, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

Can some employment actions cease to be reviewable?

Yes some actions cease to be reviewable, such as (Regulation 5.23):

  • you applied outside of the statutory time limits and there are no exceptional circumstances explaining why you did not make an application within the time limits (Regulation 5.23(4))
  • your application is misconceived or lacking in substance
  • your application is frivolous or vexatious
  • the matter has previously been reviewed
  • you have applied to have a promotion review committee (PRC) or an independent selection advisory committee (ISAC) decision reviewed
  • you have or could have the action reviewed by an external review body which is considered more appropriate to review your concerns

    For example:
    the Human Rights Commission, Privacy Commissioner, Commonwealth Ombudsman
  • you do not have a sufficient personal interest in the matters you are concerned about
  • review or further review is not otherwise justified in all the circumstances.

Some of these decisions are discretionary and we have a policy on how this discretion is exercised.