Applications for Tribunal exemptions

A person or persons may apply to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) Link to external website for a work-related exemption, or to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) Link to external website for all other exemptions.

The tribunal may grant a temporary exemption, under section 113 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) Link to external website, from the operation of a specified provision of the Act to allow conduct that might otherwise be discriminatory. For example: restricting accommodation to single people, or recruiting for women or men only.

A person applying for an exemption must show that the conduct is likely to contravene the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 and is not covered by the specific or general exemptions in the Act.

Fixed period exemptions

Exemptions may be granted for a fixed period of up to five years, as determined by the tribunal, on a case by case basis. An exemption may be renewed for further periods of up to five years on application by the person or people to whom, or in respect of whom, the exemption was granted.

Back to top

Exemption precludes complaint

An exemption granted by the tribunal applies to a specific set of circumstances, and for a specified length of time. If an exemption is granted by the tribunal, the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland cannot accept a complaint of discrimination about the subject of the exemption.

Back to top

How to apply for a Tribunal exemption

This fact sheet contains information about how to apply for an exemption to the QIRC or QCAT , and the matters considered in deciding an application.

Application forms are available on the tribunals' websites.

Back to top

Exemptions granted and refused

These tables list published decisions on applications made to QCAT and the QIRC, for exemption from the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, and give brief details of the exemptions granted and the reasons for refusing an application.

Print version: QIRC and QCAT exemption applications outcomes (PDF File, 64.1 KB)

Published decisions in applications for exemption are available from:

Back to top


2017 decisions

2017 outcomes of applications for exemption
Citation Exemption sought Granted / Refused
CISC Pty Ltd t/as The Construction Training Centre [2017] QCAT 301 (1 September 2017) To pay an extra 1% superannuation for the company's female employees. Refused
1. It is declared that:
a. The proposal by CISC Pty Ltd t/as The Construction Training Centre to pay an additional 1% in superannuation contributions for its female employees would if not rendered lawful by a statutory provision, be direct discrimination in the superannuation area of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld).
b. The proposal is rendered lawful by the operation of section 59 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) because the proposal is permitted under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cwlth).
2. Therefore an exemption from the operation of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) is not required and the application is dismissed.
Burleigh Town Village Pty Ltd [2017] QCAT 161 (22 May 2017) Restrict accommodation and services in a manufactured home park at West Burleigh to people aged 50 years and over. Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 45, 46, 76, 77, 82 and 83 in relation to the attribute of age referred to in section 7(f), in respect of activities in relation to the manufactured home park known as Burleigh Town Village, Township Drive, West Burleigh – 20 July 2016 to 19 July 2021.
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation [2017] QIRC 038 (5 May 2017) Provide more opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to volunteer in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 14,15, 124 and 127 in relation to the attribute in section 7(g) (race), in respect of actions or omissions which are reasonably necessary for the applicant to advertise for, recruit for, and employ, volunteers for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games – 23 March 2017 to 30 June 2018.
Mission Australia [2017] QCAT 24 (27 January 2017) To recruit specifically female or male case workers for homeless program in Cairns, where clientele is 95% Indigenous. Granted – exempt from operation of sections 14, 15, and 127 in relation to attribute in section 7(a) (sex) relating to Mission Australia advertising for, and the employment of case workers for its Douglas House Homeless Program in Cairns. The exemption applies only to acts or omissions reasonably necessary to ensure employment of sufficient male or female case workers to address the objective of providing the program – granted for 3 years.

2016 decisions

2016 outcomes of applications for exemption
Citation Exemption sought Granted / Refused
North and West Remote Health Limited [2016] QCAT 452
(23 November 2016)
To identify a position, Manager Community and Cultural Relations, to be filled only by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. Refused – exemption not necessary because it is a genuine occupation requirement that the position be filled by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, and section 25 applies to the position.
Seachange (Land) Pty Ltd & Ors [2016] QCAT 519
(22 November 2016)
To restrict ownership and occupation of homes in a manufactured home park at Arundel to people aged 50 years and over. Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 45, 46, 76, 77, 81, 82 and 83 in relation to the attribute of age referred to in section 7(f), in relation to Seaside Arundel Village located at 299 Napper Road, Arundel, Gold Coast, Queensland – from 23 December 2016 to 22 December 2021.
Palmpoint Pty Ltd [2016] QCAT 419 (8 September 2016) To restrict ownership and occupation of homes in a manufactured home park to people aged 50 years and over. Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 45, 46, 76, 77, 81, 82 and 83 in relation to the attribute in section 7(f) in respect of its activities in relation to the property known as Bribie Pines Island Village and Island Breeze Resort – 7 April 2016 to 6 April 2021.
Savannah FNQ Developments Pty Ltd [2016] QCAT 141 (11 April 2016) To restrict ownership and occupation of homes in a manufactured home park to people aged over 55 years. Refused – noise and disruption of young residents not in itself a reason to grant an exemption – no explanation why exemption is now necessary when it has been operating for almost 6 years – there is a non-discriminatory way to achieve the purpose of providing retirement accommodation and that is to bring the village within the Retirement Villages Act 1999 .
Re: Anglo Coal (Grosvenor Management) Pty Ltd & Ors [2016] QCAT 160 (23 February 2016) To advertise for and recruit female trainees at entry level in the underground mining industry, 8 per year for 3 years, to increase female participation in traditional male roles. Refused – exemption not necessary because the proposed act is an act to promote equal opportunity within the meaning of section 105 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 .

2015 decisions

2015 outcomes of applications for exemption
Citation Exemption sought Granted / Refused
Ghostgum Developments Pty Ltd [2015] QCAT 500 (23 December 2015) Restrict ownership and occupation of homes in a manufacture home park to people aged 50 years and over. Refused – exemption not in the community interest and not necessary – already adequate provision of dwellings suited to older groups in the area – the aim of the development to provide dwellings, lifestyle and environment for older persons at a reasonable cost can be achieved naturally without an exemption, by the type of dwelling, the gated village arrangement, the community facilities and activities, and by targeting marketing if necessary.
YFS Ltd [2015] QCAT 295(2 July 2015) Advertise for and recruit specifically male or female caseworkers for its domestic violence team

Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 14, 15 and 127 in relation to the attribute in section 7(a) – to 31 December 2017.

Wesley Mission Brisbane [2015] QCAT 231 (19 May 2015) Restrict recruitment to a male for the role of a Youth Support Worker in the Youth At Risk Alliance Program when there is no other male support worker available Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 14 and 127 in relation to the attribute in section 7(a) – 19 May 2015 to 20 May 2020.
United Synergies [2015] QCAT 089 (30 March 2015) Target Indigenous employees for general employment to address under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 14, 15 and 127 in relation to the attribute in section 7(g) – 30 March 2015 to 30 March 2020.
Body Corporate for Village Green (Caloundra) No. 1 CTS [2015] QCAT 101 (23 February 2015) Restrict ownership and occupation of homes in Village Green Caloundra to people aged over 55 years. Refused – the Older People Statistics filed with the application do not support a finding that the community benefits from quarantining older people, or people over the age of 55, in their own community away from the general population – no other evidence that exemption would be in the community interest – noise and disruption that young people bring to the Village is not in itself a reason to grant the exemption – circumstances of this application different to Caloundra Gardens and J & D Developments Pty Ltd.

Back to top 

2014 decisions

2014 outcomes of applications for exemption
Citation Exemption sought Granted / Refused
eHarmony Australia Pty Limited Exemption [2014] QCAT 577 (12 November 2014) Limit match-making services to people who are not married or in a de facto relationship Granted – exempt from the application of sections 46(1)(a), 46(1)(b), 124 and 127 in relation to the attribute in section 7(b) – November 2014 to 11 November 2019.
Women's Legal Service Inc. [2014] QCAT 315 (1 July 2014) Advertise for and employ women Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 14, 15, and 127 in relation to the attribute in section 7(a) in respect of the advertising for and employing of persons for positions with the organisation – 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2019.
Boys Town [2014] QCAT 247 (16 May 2014) Recruit female case workers Refused – exemption not necessary – it is a genuine occupational requirement for the role to be filled only by women – section 25 available as defence – also protected by section 104 – support services for victims of violence by men is for the benefit of women and is not inconsistent with the Anti-Discrimination Act .
James Frizelle's Automotive Group [2014] QCAT 090 (13 March 2014) Advertise for women employees in sales and service areas Refused – adopt reasons in Eagers decision [2012] QCAT 567 – not necessary – section 105 might apply – promote equal opportunity – made suggestion for advertising in para 23:
[23] …James Frizelle can note in any advertisements that are targeting female staff that 'The James Frizelle's Automotive Group considers this advertisement to be an equal opportunity measure under s 105 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991' to indicate the group's intentions to raise this exemption should a complaint be made.
(emphasis added)
National Heart Foundation of Australia [2014] QCAT 39 (22 January 2014) Engage Senior Aboriginal Advisor for its National Aboriginal Health Unit Refused – exemption not necessary – it is a genuine occupational requirement for the role to be filled only by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person – section 25 available as defence – targeted employment for the purpose of improving understanding and respect for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people is an equal opportunity measure – exemption exists under section105.

Back to top

2013 decisions

2013 outcomes of applications for exemption 
Citation Exemption sought Granted / Refused
Isaac Regional Council [2013] QCAT 734 (15 October 2013) Advertise for and recruit candidates in a co-habiting relationship in preference to candidates who are not in a relationship with a person who is also seeking employment with Council Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 13, 14, 15, 45, 82, 83, 124 and 127 in relation to the attribute in section 7(b) in respect of the recruiting and employment of persons for positions with the Council – 15 October 2013 to 14 October 2016.
ABC Business Australia Pty Ltd [2013] QCAT 719 (29 November 2013) Provide services to people aged over 50 years Refused – exemption not necessary – nothing to prevent business from advertising it has specialist knowledge relating to the services it offers, and allowing market forces to take effect – applicant has not explained why it needs an exemption in order to conduct its business.
Miami Recreational Facilities Pty Ltd [2013] QCAT 635 (21 November 2013) Restrict accommodation in Miami Village Residential Complex to persons aged over 50 years Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 45, 46, 76, 77, 81, 82 and 83 in relation to the attribute in section 7(f) in respect of occupation of units at the property known as Miami Village Residential Complex from 22 November 2013 to 21 November 2016.
GRS Networking Pty Ltd [2013] QCAT 563 (16 October 2013) Operate a women only area in a fitness club Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 46 and 127 in relation to:
(i) the attribute of sex, referred to in section 7(a) of the Act
(ii) in respect to providing a women's only training area within its fitness centre in Cairns, Queensland
(iii) from 16 October 2013 until 15 October 2018.
Downer EDI Mining Pty Ltd (No. 2) [2013] QCAT 532 (18 October 2013) Recruit ten female operators at entry level in each of five open cut mining sites in Queensland each year.
The aim of the initiative is to break stereotypes around gender and occupation.
Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 13, 14, 15 and 127 in relation to the attribute in section 7(a) for 5 years – 18.10.13 to 17.10.18 – in respect of the recruiting and employment of persons at its open-cut sites at Goonyella, Blackwater, Daunia, Meandu and Commodore.
TJ & RC Walsh Pty Ltd v Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland [2013] QCAT 418 (1 August 2013) Restrict accommodation in manufactured home village, Durack Gardens Home Park, at Caloundra to people over the age of 50 years Granted – this type of affordable housing is particularly attractive to seniors – would be incongruous if one segment of the accommodation market designed to appeal to seniors is permitted ( Retirement Villages Act ) while another segment is not.
Downer EDI Mining [2013] QCAT 99 (27 February 2013) Designate, advertise and recruit Indigenous people for trainee positions in 6 mine sites in Queensland Refused – exemption not necessary – company filling and exceeding its targets of Indigenous employees – also s 105 might apply – promote equal opportunity.
Note: Leave to appeal this decision was sought but not granted and the application dismissed. See Downer EDI Mining [2013] QCATA 276 (15 October 2013)
TJ & RC Walsh Pty Ltd atf the Trevor Walsh Family Trust No 2 [2013] QCAT 25 (21 January 2013) Restrict accommodation in manufactured home village, Little Mountain Home Park, at Caloundra to people over the age of 50 years Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 7(f), 45, 46, 76, 77 and 81, 82 and 83, for 5 years – 21 January 2013 to 21 January 2018

Back to top

2012 decisions

2012 outcomes of applications for exemption
Citation Exemption sought Granted / Refused
Re A P Eagers Limited [2012] QCAT 567 (26 October 2012) Advertise for women employees in sales and service area Refused – not necessary – section 105 might apply – promote equal opportunity – made suggestion for advertising in para 17:
[17] It may be of assistance in this regard to note in any advertisements that are targeting female staff that 'Eagers considers this advertisement to be an equal opportunity measure under s 105 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991' to indicate the Company's intentions to raise this exemption should a complaint be made.
(emphasis added)
Re Brisbane Housing Company Ltd (No 3) [2012] QCAT 529 (16 October 2012) Restrict accommodation in residential unit complex at 4 Bonney Lane, Fortitude Valley to singles Granted – exempt from application of sections 81, 82, 83, 124 and 127 in relation to attributes in sections 7(a), (b), (c), (d), (o) and (p), as well as (f) and (h) insofar as person not able to live alone, for 5 years – 16 October 2012 to 16 October 2017.
Re Brisbane Housing Company Ltd (No 2) [2012] QCAT 507 (21 September 2012) Restrict accommodation in residential unit complex at 5 Green Square, Fortitude Valley to singles Granted – exempt from application of sections 81, 82, 83, 124 and 127 in relation to attributes in sections 7(a), (b), (c), (d), (o) and (p), as well as (f) and (h) insofar as person not able to live alone, for 5 years – 21 September 2012 to 21 September 2017.
Re Brisbane Housing Company Ltd (No 1) [2012] QCAT 506 (21 September 2012) Restrict accommodation in residential unit complex at 47 Warry Street, Fortitude Valley to singles Granted – exempt from application of sections 81, 82, 83, 124 and 127 in relation to attributes in sections 7(a), (b), (c), (d), (o) and (p), as well as (f) and (h) insofar as person not able to live alone, for 5 years – 21 September 2012 to 21 September 2017.
Re Surtie Enterprises Pty Ltd ATF the Surtie Enterprises Unit Trust [2012] QCAT 369 (14 August 2012) Restrict accommodation in manufactured home village, Greenbank Gardens Village, at Park Ridge to people over the age of 50 years Granted – exempt from application of sections 7(f), 45, 46, 76, 77, 81, 82,& 83 for 5 years – 14 August 2012 to 13 August 2017.
Re The Youth and Family Service (Logan City) Inc [2012] QCAT 315 (29 July 2012) Advertise for and employ specifically male or female caseworkers for its domestic violence team, providing counselling and programs for perpetrators of domestic violence Granted – exempt from operation of sections 14, 15 and 127 in relation to the attribute in s 7(a) until 31 December 2014.
Only applies to acts or omissions reasonably necessary to ensure employment of sufficient gender specific workers to address the objectives of the domestic violence counselling and support programs.
JN & RA Cooper Pty Ltd [2012] QCAT 178 (30 March 2012) Restrict accommodation in the manufacture home village, Palm Meadow Village, at Willowbank to people over 50 years of age Granted – exempt from application of sections 7(f), 45, 46, 76, 77, 81, 82 and 83 for 5 years – 30 March 2012 to 29 March 2017.
Re Mission Australia [2012] QCAT 124 (21 March 2012) Advertise for and employ only women at a women's refuge on Mornington Island Refused – section 25 exemption reasonably open to applicant – made suggestion for advertising in para 32 that Mission Australia:
[32] ... may wish to consider, when advertising for the stated positions, inserting into the advertisement something to the following effect, for example, Mission Australia considers being a female is a genuine occupational requirement for the position as envisaged under section 25 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 to foreshadow that should a complaint arise in the future in relation to the positions it would raise this exemption in its response.
(emphasis added)
Re Caloundra Gardens Village Body Corporate Committee [2012] QCAT 98 (23 March 2012) Limit residential accommodation in Caloundra Gardens Village to persons over 50 years of age Granted – exempt from the application of sections 7(f), 45, 46, 76, 77, 81, 82 and 83 for 5 years – 23 March 2012 to 22 March 2017.
Condition – current residents exempt from requirement to be over 50 years of age for the duration of their lives.
Re Credit Suisse Management (Australia) Pty Limited [2012] QCAT 95 (6 March 2012) Offer investment banking scholarship for female university students in penultimate year of study Refused – section 105 (equal opportunity measures) is reasonably open to applicant to argue should a complaint arise.
Re Australian Municipal, Administrative, Clerical and Services Union [2012] QCAT 40 (27 January 2012) Confer greater redundancy entitlements for workers over the age of 50 years (renewal of expired exemption) Granted – AMACSU exempt from application of section 20(1)(d) in relation to attribute in section 7(f) (age) in respect of redundancy entitlements and severance payments payable to employees of TattsBet Limited – TattsBet Limited exempt from application of sections 15(1)(a), (b) and (f) in relation to attribute in section 7(f) (age) in respect of redundancy entitlements and severance payments to employees – granted for 5 years.

Back to top

2011 decisions

2011 outcomes of applications for exemption  
Citation Exemption sought Granted / Refused
Urban Land Development Authority and Maranoa Regional Council [2011] QCAT 647 (3 August 2011) Provide affordable housing for low to middle income households in the Maranoa Council region Granted – exempt from operation of sections 9, 14, 15, 45, 46, 76, 77, 81, 83, 102, 124 and 127 in relation to attribute in section 7(b) (relationship status) in respect of providing affordable housing for people working and living in the area – granted for 5 years.
Burleigh Town Village Pty Ltd Rental Management Services Pty Ltd [2011] QCAT 646 (19 July 2011) Restrict accommodation in manufactured home village, Burleigh Town Village, at West Burleigh to people over the age of 50 years Granted – exempt from the operation of sections 7(f), 45, 46, 76, 77 and 81, 82 and 83, for 5 years – 20 July 2011 2013 to 19 July 2016.
Re The Women's Community Aid Association (Qld) Limited [2011] QCAT 593 (18 November 2011) Restrict services offered by Brisbane Rape and Incest Survivors Support Centre and Women's House Shelta to women and children; and prohibit men from the premises; and limit staff to women Refused – exemption under section 113 not necessary because a valid defence and specific exemption apply – genuine occupational requirement for workers and volunteer at WCAA to be women, and section 25 available as a defence to complaints of sex discrimination in work – providing counselling, support services and a safe environment for women who have experienced violence from men is a welfare measure under section 104.
Mission Australia [2011] QCAT 489 (11 October 2011) Recruit female case workers for homeless program where over 90 per cent of recipients of services are A and TSI Granted – exempt from operation of sections 14, 15 and 127 in relation to attribute in section 7(a) (sex) in respect of activities of providing female case workers for the Going Places homeless program in Cairns – granted for 3 years.
Pink Army Handywomen [2011] QCAT 395 (10 August 2011) Recruit only females for business providing handyperson services directed to vulnerable women Granted – exempt from operation of sections 14, 15 and 127 in relation to attribute in section 7(a) (sex) in respect of activities of providing a handyperson service to vulnerable women – granted for 2 years.
Kings International College [2011] QCAT 231 (30 May 2011) Deliver a male only course in Certificate III in Children's Services Refused – no evidence that offering male only courses will tend to correct any practice that has excluded, caused disadvantage or restricted the opportunity of males to obtain places in children education or obtain employment in the childcare industry.  No evidence that it is reasonable and appropriate to preclude females from a more attractive childcare course for men.
Palmpoint Pty Limited [2011] QCAT 140 (6 April 2011) Operate a manufactured home park at Bribie Pines Island Village and Island Breeze Resort, Bribie Island for people over 50 years of age Granted – exempt from operations of sections 45, 46, 76, 77, 81, 82 and 83 in relation to the attribute in section 7(f) (age) in respect of its activities in relation to the property known as Bribie Pines Island Village and Island Breeze Resort – granted for 5 years.
Central Queensland University [2011] QCAT 132 (8 April 2011) Recruit an Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander person for the position of Indigenous Recruitment and Retention Officer Refused – insufficient information accompanying the application. If it is a genuine occupational requirement for the position that the person be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, the discrimination would be lawful and an exemption not necessary.

Back to top

2010 decisions

2010 outcomes of applications for exemption
Citation Exemption sought Granted / Refused
J & D Richards Developments Pty Limited (25 August 2010)
(unreported)
Operate a manufactured home park at Little Mountain Home Park Caloundra, for people over 50 years of age Granted – exempt from the application of sections 7(f), 45, 46, 76, 77 and 81, 82 and 83 for the period from 28 July 2010 to 27 July 2015.
Queensland South Native Title Services Ltd [2010] QCAT 413 (25 August 2010) Advertise and fill all positions in the Community Relations team with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander persons Refused – If it is a genuine occupational requirement that the position of Community Relations team member be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, the exemption is not necessary. If it was not a genuine occupation requirement, there is insufficient information in the application to say whether the exemption is appropriate and reasonable or in the community interest.

Back to top