Transfer appeals

[page updated 8 September 2023]

Each year there are QTU members who either receive a required transfer that they do not want to accept or who have requested a transfer but have not received a transfer to a requested geographic area and/or region. For both categories of members there are appeal processes and relevant teacher transfer appeal information is provided here on the QTU website and on the DoE intranet site.

For a teacher to be successful in appealing a required transfer whether it be an inter-regional transfer or an intra-regional transfer, they must provide evidence (documentary wherever possible) that the transfer is unreasonable.

Transfer appeal process

Information about the department’s appeal process is outlined in a document titled Teacher Transfers – Review and Appeal timeframes

Stage 1

Teachers should discuss their concerns about a transfer or non-transfer with their principal and this stage of the process can now include a teleconference with a regional officer and the teacher is able to have a union representative or other support person with them during the teleconference. The teacher will receive an email confirming the outcome of this stage of the process.

Stage 2

Teachers can lodge an appeal with regional office if stage 1 is unsuccessful in resolving the matter. The department provides forms for this appeal stage. For appeals against a transfer teachers should use the Teacher Transfer Request for Review – Required Transfer form. For appeals against non-transfer, teachers should use the Teacher Transfer Request for Review – Requested Transfer (request not granted) form. Appeals should be lodged within 14 calendar days of the receipt of the stage one outcome email.

Stage 3

There is an external review/appeal stage where stages 1 and 2 do not resolve the appeal. If the appeal is not resolved at stage 2 teachers 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 that all relevant information is included in your submission in the first instance as new information will not be considered.

Grounds for appeal

To win an appeal against transfer you must establish grounds and provide evidence as to why the transfer is not reasonable. There is no limitation on what constitutes grounds or evidence that a transfer is unreasonable. You can nominate any grounds which you believe are relevant 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 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.

If you do want to appeal a transfer decision, your objection should be based on the information already submitted or provided to the department during the annual transfer process and should include supporting documentation 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 a ground
  • Any other relevant documentation that supports the application

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 the appeal, 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 current, while awaiting the updated reports.

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

Local transfers

For teachers transferred within the 50 minute travel time set out in the teacher transfer guidelines, there are generally very limited grounds upon which to appeal given that most of these transfers will be considered reasonable as no change in residence is required.

2023 Teacher Transfer Appeal Timelines

Event Time Period
Transfers released  
Local level (school) review process finalised Within 28 calendar days from official notification of transfer
Lodgement of request for internal review to Teacher Transfer Review Panel Within 14 calendar days from local level review being finalised
Notification of outcomes from Teacher Transfer Review Panel Within 14 calendar days from internal review being finalised
Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) notice of appeals due Within 21 calendar days from receipt of the outcome of the Teacher Transfer Review Panel

NOTE: The QTU is not providing specific appeal date deadlines in 2023 because both transfers and notifications of non-transfer may be sent on a number of different dates. Please check that any appeals or reviews are lodged within the time periods specified in the second column in the above table.

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