Student complaint process

1. Purpose

Purpose of this policy is to ensure that all current and prospective students of ACAB are given access to free, effective and fair complaints resolution and appeals processes.


2. Scope

This policy applies to all current and prospective students of ACAB.


3. Definitions

Appeal: A request to review an adverse decision or an unfavourable outcome that may have arisen from any administrative, academic or disciplinary processes. An Appeal may be an Internal Appeal or an External Appeal

Internal Appeal: An appeal against a decision where the appeal is brought under ACAB policies and code of conducts or where there is a process for appeal within ACAB policies and procedures

External Appeal: An appeal to an external agency against a final decision of the college. Agencies may include the an Ombudsman, the Privacy Commissioner, the Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissions or Department of Education and Training (In relation to ESOS Act).

Final Decision: A decision made by the member of staff authorised by the CEO to make that decision and communicated to the Complainant in writing when all Internal Appeal avenues within college’s policy, procedures and codes have been exhausted

Complainant: A person lodging a complaint or an appeal

Respondent: A person responding to a complaint or an appeal


4. Legislative Context

The legislative base for this policy is as follows:

  •  National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (Cth)
  • Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth)
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)
  • Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 (Cth)
  • Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth)
  • Racial Hatred Act 1995 (Cth)
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth).
  • Equal Opportunity Act 1995
  • Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001

5. Policy: Complaints

This policy and procedure ensure that in the event that a student has a complaint concerning any matter in relation to the college, there is a process in place to ensure that the complaint can be resolved amicably. Students have access to a complaints procedure if they feel they have been unjustly treated, undermined, vilified or harassed in any circumstances. All the complaints will be treated in full confidence.

5.1 A complaint can be lodged in writing by letter or by email or in person. A student can lodge their complaint with any member of staff but should preferably lodge their initial complaint with the Student Support Officer. The student must lodge their complaint with only one member of staff at the college. If the complaint needs to be escalated, the staff member will follow the complaint policy. A written record of the complaint will be kept on the student file.

5.2 The student will have the opportunity to formally present their case at no cost. The student may be accompanied and assisted by a support person to present their case at any relevant meeting, if required.

5.3 The college will investigate and respond to all complaints lodged by a student. The process will commence within 10 working days of the formal lodgement of the complaint and supporting information and all reasonable measures will be taken to finalise the process in the shortest possible time. If the nature of the complaint requires immediate action, that staff member receiving the complaint will forward the matter directly to the Campus Manager.

If the complaint is in regard to something of a more academic or study related nature, he or she may refer the matter to the Academic Manager without delay. In the event of this happening, the Academic Manager assumes the Campus Manager’s duties of this policy for the incident.

5.4 The college treats all complaints in confidence and will seek the permission of the student before discussing the complaint with any party mentioned or named in the complaint. The student will be given a written statement of the outcome, including details of the reasons for the outcome

5.5 Only the college staff authorised by the CEO can respond to a complaint.

5.6 If the process results in a decision that supports the student, the college will immediately implement the decision or preventive actions required and advise the Student of the outcome.

5.7 Students who are not satisfied with the outcome of their complaint may appeal the decision according to ACAB’s Internal Appeal Process or choose to lodge an External Appeal with an appropriate agency if they wish to do so. If the student chooses to access ACAB’s internal complaints and appeals processes, their enrolment will be maintained while the process is ongoing.

5.8 The college will maintain the student’s enrolment until the external complaints/appeals process is completed and has supported the college’s decision to report. The college will wait for the outcome of the external process with consideration for student welfare as reporting a student for breaches may have serious consequences for the student’s visa; it may result in cancellation.

5.9 Academic Review

All students have the right to request an academic review. Where a student is dissatisfied with the outcome/result of assessment of an assignment and/or an examination, the student should discuss this informally in the first instance with their Trainer/Assessor.

If the issue cannot be resolved informally, a student may submit a request for a formal academic review in writing to the Academic Manager within twenty (20) working days of receiving the reviewed academic result. The request must outline why the student has requested a formal review of the result.

The Academic Manager will seek to resolve a formal academic review through the appointment of an independent and impartial educator to conduct an investigation and make a recommendation. The Academic Manager will make the final decision on all formal academic reviews.

All parties involved in any formal academic reviews will be advised in writing of the outcome and the reasons for the decision within twenty (20) working days from the date the review was lodged. If a student’s formal academic review is successful, the academic result will be amended.

Where a formal academic review is not upheld by the relevant Campus Manager, the student will be advised in writing of the option to access the appeals procedure.

6. Procedure: Complaints

1. Complainant gathers information and arranges to meet the Campus Manager for advice and information discussion;
2. Online complainant or a complainant not able to physically attend the college may choose to communicate electronically or telephonically with the Campus Manager
3. If not resolved in Step 1, the complainant fills and submits the complaint in writing using the Complaints and Appeals form to the Campus Manager
4. Campus Manager confirms the receipt of the complaint in writing to the complainant with three (3) working days of the date of receipt of the complaint and      enters the compliant in the Complaints Register
5. Campus Manager starts the process no later than ten (10) working days from the date of receipt of the complaint and calls upon respective parties for discussions/meetings
6. All the evidences concerning the complaint are collected and reviewed
7. Assistance of Student Support officer is sought if student welfare is a concern
8. Campus Manager discusses the outcomes with the CEO and reaches a decision
9. The complainant is advised of the decision in writing by the Campus Manager
10. If the decision is not accepted, an internal or external mediator is appointed with mutual consent
11. If the mediation fails, external compliant options are advised and exercised
12. All the documents and noted are forwarded to Student Support Administrative Officer for filing
13. Campus Manager updates the Complaints and Appeals Register with the outcome

7. Policy: Appeals

ACAB is committed to providing fair, safe and productive study environment to all it students. Consideration of appeals will be dealt with fairly, consistently, promptly, with sensitivity to all parties and in accordance with ACAB’s policies and quality principles.

7.1 ACAB will appoint an Appeals Committee comprising of at least three of the following senior staff members;

Academic Manager
Campus Manager
Student Support Officer

7.2 All the appeals will be heard by the committee on a designated date. Minutes of the meeting will be taken and filed.

7.3 Student enrolment will be maintained while the appeals process is ongoing

7.4 Students will be advised of their right to access an External Appeal process with appropriate agencies if they are not satisfied with ACAB’s internal Complaints and Appeals processes of conduct of such processes.

8. Procedure: Appeals

1. The complainant arranges a meeting with the Campus Manager and discusses appeals options
2. Online complainant or a complainant not able to physically attend the college may choose to communicate electronically or telephonically with the Campus Manager
3. The complainant fills and submits the appeal in writing using the Complaints and Grievance form to the Student Support Officer (Note: The form can also be lodged with the Campus Manager directly if the Student Support Officer is not available)
4. Student Support Officer enters the appeal in the Complaints and Appeals Register and forwards it to the Campus Manager for action
5. Campus Manager confirms the receipt of the complaint in writing to the complainant with three (3) working days of the date of receipt of the complaint
6. Campus Manager notifies the Complaints and Appeals Committee and provides copies of the documents
7. Complaints and Appeals Committee convenes no later than ten (10) days from the date of receipt of the appeal
8. Case background and grounds for appeal are reviewed and discussed by the Complaints and Appeals Committee
9. Complaints and Appeals Committee reaches a Final Decision
10. The Final Decision is conveyed to the complainant in writing
11. If the decisions are not accepted by the student, external compliant options are advised and exercised

9. External Complaints and Appeals

There is an external complaint/appeal process available to students if they have exhausted the above college/internal complaint and appeal procedures and still feel unsatisfied.

Students can submit a complaint to ASQA by completing the form at:

Alternatively, students may choose to contact the Department of Education and Training

Department of Education and Training
GPO Box 9880
Canberra ACT 2601

International Students:

International students who wish to lodge an external appeal can do so through the Overseas Students Ombudsman. See the Overseas Students Ombudsman website or phone 1300 362 072. The Overseas Students Ombudsman offers a free and independent service for overseas students who have a complaint or want to lodge an external appeal about a decision made by their training provider. ACAB agrees to be bound by the independent mediator’s recommendations and the CEO, or their nominee, will ensure that any recommendations made are implemented within 30 days of receipt of the mediator’s report. Each complaint, grievance, appeal and its outcome will be recorded in writing and each party to the complaint is given a written statement of the appeal outcomes, including reasons for the decision.

Students may also seek legal redress through the usual court processes if they feel unsatisfied. They may also approach other agencies relevant to their specific situation;

  • The Ombudsman
  • The Privacy Commissioner
  • The Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissions
  • Department of Education and Training

If the problem resolution fits within equal opportunity guidelines, it will be managed under college’s relevant policies and procedures. The procedures set out in this document do not replace or modify procedures or any other responsibilities which may arise under other policies or under statute or any other law. Nothing in this policy and procedure limits the rights of individuals to take action under Australia’s Consumer Protection laws. Also, these procedures do not circumscribe an individual’s rights to pursue other legal remedies.

10. Natural justice

The principle of Natural Justice underpins the duty to act fairly includes two rules: the fair dealing rule and the no bias rule. This means that all parties must be given the opportunity to present their case, be fully informed about allegations and decisions made and have the right to be represented by another person.

In addition, a decision maker must have no personal interest, beyond the scope of their role in this process and must be unbiased. If the decision maker cannot meet these requirements they must immediately withdraw from the process. The procedure shall have regard to the duration of an overseas student’s stay in Australia. In order to expedite the process, students shall also have regard for this and not unduly interfere with the mediation agent or the procedure. Should interference by the student affect the normal process of events, the college shall not be held responsible for the consequences.

11. Responsibility

The Student Support Officer is responsible for maintaining the Complaints and Appeals Register.
The Campus Manager is responsible for effective implementation and management of this policy and procedure.

The CEO has overall responsibility for the implementation and review of this policy.

Any complaints or breaches in relation to this policy should be reported to the Chief Executive Officer in person or by email to:

Get In Touch

Location: Level 1, 239 Church St. Parramatta NSW 2150

Telephone: 1300 678 379


School Hours: M-F: 9am – 3pm

Students’ rights

ACAB respects students’ rights as consumers of this course. We guarantee to provide high quality training and assessment services to our students in this qualification. As consumers, students have rights to complain, receive refunds, and ask for replacement course.

For details of students’ rights and obligations on this and other ACAB courses, please read our Student Handbook,