Appealing a transfer decision

A teacher can appeal a transfer at any time. However for administrative convenience the Department puts in place an annual appeal cycle and publishes set dates for appeals to be heard.

The 2017 transfer appeal cycle will commence after the release of transfers on 14 September.

If at this time you have requested a transfer which has not been granted or you have received an unwanted or unrequested transfer you may wish to explore appeal options.

In 2017 both the appeals against an unrequested transfer and appeals against non-transfer will have the same timelines.

In stage one you should raise your concerns with your principal and a teleconference involving a regional office senior HR consultant will be arranged. You will be entitled to have a support person present at the teleconference. If the appeal is not resolved at this stage you may wish to progress to the next stage.

Stage 2 appeals are lodged using DET appeal templates which are Request for Review Teacher Transfer Panel (Required Transfer) and Request for Review Teacher Transfer Panel (Non-Transfer). These appeals should be accompanied by documentary evidence where relevant and need to be lodged by COB 17 October 2017. A regional office panel will consider the appeals and provide a response on or shortly after 31 October 2017.

If the appeal is not resolved at stage 2 you may wish to lodge a stage 3 appeal (external review). The stage 3 appeal is to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) and is heard by an ‘Appeals Officer’ who is a QIRC Commissioner. An “Appeal Notice(appeal application form) can be found on the QIRC website along with other appeal information. This appeal must be lodged within 21 days of receiving the written outcome of the stage 2 appeal.

Before lodging the stage 3 appeal, the Union advises members to read the Appeals Guide on the QIRC website. 

A word of caution

All appeals to the Public Service Commission are now heard in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission “on the papers” other than where the Commissioner accedes to a request for a hearing.

In practical effect this means that there is little or no opportunity for you to put your case in a face-to-face hearing.  Consequently it is extremely important for all relevant information is included in your submission in the first instance as new information will not be considered.

  • Notification of transfer outcomes - 14 September 2017
  • Local level review process finalised - 11 October 2017
  • Lodgement of request for internal review by Teacher Transfer Review Panel - 17 October 2017
  • Notification of outcomes from Teacher Transfer Review Panel - 31 October 2017
  • QIRC notice of appeals due - 21 November 2017

To win an appeal against transfer you must establish reasonable grounds for refusing the transfer.  There is no limitation on what constitutes reasonable grounds.  You can nominate any grounds which you believe are reasonable.  However your chances of success are likely to be higher if you can demonstrate that the transfer is likely to cause you some significant detriment or “exceptional hardship” as per the department’s policy guidelines.

If you are appealing against non-transfer you generally must establish “exceptional hardship” grounds. Whilst there are appeals against non-transfer that have been successful on other grounds, these have been very few in number.

In the past exceptional hardship has been accepted in some quite limited circumstances, for example in situations where:

  • A teacher or a family member suffers from a serious medical condition, disability or other significant health issue which could not be managed in the current location and which can only be managed in the requested location.
  • A teacher or teacher’s partner would be denied access to children because the non-transfer would cut across custody and access arrangements. 
  • A teacher is in an environment that is hostile to his/her sexual preference or ethnic origins and must be transferred for health and safety reasons.

If you do want to appeal a transfer decision, your objection should be based on the information already submitted on your transfer application and should include documentation in support such as:

  • Medical specialist letters/reports regarding a medical condition
  • Legal documents regarding family law matters (such as joint access arrangements)
  • Evidence of the relationship i.e. statutory declaration with documentation attesting to shared domicile i.e. lease/mortgage documents/billing notices in both names etc.
  • Statutory declarations from a spouse or partner or their employer if their employment is affected

Any other relevant documentation that supports the application.

For teachers transferred within the 50 minute travel time set out in the transfer policy, there is generally no basis upon which to appeal given that transfer is a condition of service.

While domestic circumstances can be cited in appealing against non transfer these matters are deemed “pressing and personal” under the transfer policy and as such require the teacher to compete on points for a preferred placement.

If you are relying on specialist medical evidence you will need to have this material submitted with your notice of appeal so it is important if you have a medical condition to keep these reports up to date.  If you do not have the required specialist medical evidence at the time of lodging you need to flag that you are in the process of obtaining it and if possible you should provide the specialist medical advice that you do have even if it is not up to date, while awaiting the updated reports. 

(NB – There is no guarantee that late medical evidence will be considered in the appeal process).


Jeff Backen
Industrial/Services Officer

Page updated 22 August 2017