The Commissioner or any other person can apply to SACAT to be exempted from complying with a certain part of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984.

You may be granted an exemption if your program or service aims to:

  • promote equality of opportunity between people
  • prevent certain kinds of discrimination
  • help people to participate in the economic and social life of the community.

See the Equal Opportunity website for more information about exemptions.

Applying for an exemption

If you think you might need an exemption, first check to see if your program or service is already covered by an existing exemption in the Equal Opportunity Act.

You might need to seek legal advice to see if it is necessary to apply to SACAT for an exemption.

SACAT can grant exemptions for up to three years.

Preparing an application

If you need to apply for an exemption, your application should include:

  • why you are seeking an exemption
  • how your program or service will help provide equal opportunity
  • details about your organisation for example your service and customers
  • the section/s of the Equal Opportunity Act from which you are seeking to be exempt
  • how long the exemption is required
  • what will happen if the exemption is not granted (for example, evidence that you will lose customers if you cannot employ a person of a particular age, race or sex)
  • any effects on your business if the exemption is granted (for example, could some of your customers or staff react badly? How would you deal with this?)

Lodging your application

Applications for an exemption must be lodged online with SACAT.

What happens next

SACAT notifies the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity that an application has been made.

If the application has a wider public interest, the Commissioner may support or oppose the application.

Public notices of exemption applications

SACAT is required to give notice of applications to the general public.

Anyone can then make a written submission to SACAT in relation to the application. SACAT then conducts a public hearing to determine whether it is necessary and appropriate for an exemption to be granted.

The Applicant, SAVE THE CHILDREN AUSTRALIA (SCA) has applied to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an exemption from Section 30 of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984. The exemption is sought for a period of two (2) years, pursuant to section 92 of the Act.

SCA is an Australian company and is registered on the Australian Charities and Not-for profits Commission. The organisation provides services in all Australian states and territories.

Save the Children Australia is contracted to provide expert counselling services for the 1800RESPECT national hotline. This service is the first point of engagement and provides support for individuals and families who have experienced or been impacted by domestic violence, sexual violence and trauma.

As women and children are largely impacted by domestic, family and sexual violence. It is recognised that female-identifying workers are best placed to respond appropriately to majority of callers, ensuring a safe and supportive place to disclose their experiences, and prevent triggering a response, by past trauma.

The exemption is sought for the recruitment, selection and employment of exclusively female identifying to provide highly specialised counselling services, to best meet the needs of children, families and communities.

Any person who wishes to make a submission to the Tribunal in relation to the application for exemption should contact the Tribunal Registry. Written submissions should be provided to the registry by close of business on 1 December 2022.