Increase in complaints to LSC

From the end of September 2023 to March 2024, a series of annual reports from regulatory bodies have been tabled in the Queensland Parliament.

These reports provide insights from those regulatory bodies operating in the occupational and professional disciplinary space and include details of complaints, proceedings and other activities across Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), the Magistrates Court of Queensland and related jurisdictions.

Set out below is a snapshot of some of the more active regulatory bodies in the occupational and professional disciplinary space over the course of 2022-2023.

Legal Services Commission (LSC)

The Commission saw an increase of 25 per cent in new complaints and investigations matters, receiving a total of 1048 complaints during the reporting period of 2022-2023.

A total of 518 complaints carried through from the previous period, 891 matters were finalised, and 915 matters remained on hand. Of the matters finalised during the reporting period, 689 were summarily dismissed and 202 completed following an investigation.


Overall, there was an increase of 125 per cent in professional discipline applications and criminal prosecution matters commenced.

During the last reporting period these included: 47 disciplinary matters commenced against practitioners, one successful prosecution of an unlawful operator; three matters filed for prosecution of unlawful operators; three injunctions successfully obtained from the Supreme Court; and three orders made for lawyer removal from the local roll.

Complaints were overwhelmingly commenced by current or former clients, with the area of family law receiving the most complaints.

Following the commencement of claim farming provisions, the Commission also received 55 claim-related enquiries. Remedial action was negotiated for 23 of these matters.

There was also a 12 per cent increase in new enquiries from members of the public and the legal profession, with a total of 2196 enquiries received.

This increase was also reflected in the amounts of communications sent and received by the LSC during this period, which increased by 18 per cent.


Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO)

In 2022-2023, the OHO received 8615 complaints, with one per cent being investigated. Complaints largely related to professional performance (32 per cent), professional conduct (26 per cent), and medication (12 per cent), which is relatively consistent with previous years. The greatest number of complaints related to medical practitioners (57 per cent), followed by nurses (16 per cent), and psychologists (6 per cent).

For complaints that related to health service organisations, public hospitals (36%), correctional facilities (23 per cent), and medical centres (10 per cent) accounted for the majority of complaints received.

In 2022-2023, the OHO commenced 232 investigations and finalised 179 investigations, both figures being comparable to the 2021-2022 financial year. The OHO also issued 22 permanent prohibition orders, an increase from 14 in the previous financial year. No practitioners filed applications in QCAT for review of prohibition orders.

Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland (BPEQ)

During 2022-2023, the BPEQ received 33 disciplinary complaints and 16 compliance notifications. The BPEQ also considered 39 complaints and 10 notifications that were carried forward from previous years. Of the 33 disciplinary complaints received, 24 were dismissed without investigation, six disciplinary investigations were commenced, and six disciplinary investigations were finalised. One compliance investigation was commenced, and seven compliance investigations were completed.


In the 2022-2023 financial year, one disciplinary proceeding before QCAT, was brought forward from the previous financial year. This matter has subsequently been finalised in QCAT. Two prosecutions before the Queensland Magistrates’ Court were also finalised, with both defendants pleading guilty. No disciplinary or compliance prosecutions were commenced in 2022-2023.

Surveyors Board of Queensland (SBQ)

In the 2022-2023 financial year, the SBQ received nine complaints. Of the complaints received, seven were finalised, with two remaining open and under investigation. All nine complaints carried over from the previous financial year were finalised. Of the 16 finalised complaints, six were “of note”, two were “of concern”, and two were “serious”.

Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC)

In 2022-2023, the QBCC investigated 238 safety matters that involved licensees. One licence was suspended, and a further three were cancelled. The QBCC issued two show cause notices, and disciplinary actions or conditions were imposed on seven licensees.

Of 96 complaints received relating to certifier compliance, the QBCC issued findings of unsatisfactory conduct, and referred one matter of professional misconduct for disciplinary proceedings.


A total of 107 investigations relating to plumbing were closed, including a number of investigations carried over from the previous financial year. Of these, two disciplinary orders were issued to licensees amounting to $3160.

A further 74 penalty infringement notices were issued, amounting to $111,987. This constitutes a decrease from the compliance actions taken in 2021-2022, which represented a significant increase from the 2020-2021 financial year.

A total of 39 pool safety complaints were received in 2022-2023, with 17 investigations establishing grounds for disciplinary action. Various actions were taking, including licence suspension, monetary penalties, reprimands, and requirements to refund inspection fees. One complainant sought review from the QBCC Internal Review Unit on a disciplinary action decision. The QBCC observed no trends in the types of disciplinary action taken against pool safety inspectors.

Of the 49 conduct cases received, suspected corrupt conduct was identified in seven cases, with the cases subsequently closed in two cases. All seven case were referred to the CCC for independent assessment. Additionally, there were twelve cases that involved employees making public interest disclosures.

Valuers Registration Board of Queensland (VRBQ)

During 2022-2023, the VRBQ considered 21 new complaints and notifications and considered five matters that were carried forward from the previous year.


A total of 10 complaints were carried forward to the 2023-2024 year, one of which remained subject to ongoing proceedings in QCAT, one having been referred to an investigator, one having had a cease and desist notice issued, and the remaining seven were moving through the complaints process.

The VRBQ also opened one new disciplinary action and closed five.

Board of Architects of Queensland (BOAQ)

In 2022-2023, the BOAQ considered 12 complaints. Two of these were complaints carried forward from the 2021-2022 financial year, four complaints against architects were made by the public, and the BOAQ initiated six complaints about architects.

Of these 12 complaints, the BOAQ undertook disciplinary action against one architect, with the architect reprimanded, cautioned, and entered into a Deed of Undertaking relating to conduct that was the subject of the complaint.

In 2022-2023, the BOAQ also commenced investigations of 12 new matters involving ‘holding out’ offences.


Of these:

  1. in four matters, the BOAQ took no further action;
  2. in three matters, companies were reprimanded, cautioned, and entered into enforceable Deeds of Undertaking requiring actions relating to the offences;
  3. in three matters, individuals were reprimanded, cautioned, and entered into enforceable Deeds of Undertaking requiring actions relating to the offences; and
  4. in two matters, investigations remained in progress, one relating to an individual and one relating to a company.

Queensland College of Teachers (QCT)

The QCT 2023 Annual Report was released in March 2024, with a reporting period for 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2023.

In 2023, QCT received 58 complaints alleging a ground for disciplinary action against a teacher, as well as 84 other notifications, including relating to conduct, competence, and suitability to teach from other organisations and interstate entities. QCT conducted 18 authorised investigations, an increase from the 12 investigations undertaken in 2022, but a decrease from the 23 investigations in 2021. These investigations resulted in 20 teachers being suspended for a serious offence charge, 18 suspended due to unacceptable risk of harm, and four had their registration or permission to teach cancelled.

In 2023, 35 matters were referred to the Professional Capacity and Teacher Conduct Committee, and 21 matters were referred to QCAT. Disciplinary proceedings had the following outcomes in 2023:

  • no further action was taken in two proceedings;
  • warnings were issued in 29 instances;
  • reprimands were given in 21 matters;
  • cancellations were issued in four instances; and
  • other disciplinary outcomes occurred in 28 other matters (including conditions on registration, and requirements for health assessments).

The article was authored by Gadens Partner Daniel Maroske, who is a member of the QLS Occupational Discipline Law Committee, Senior Associate Anna Fanelli and Paralegal Safira Dashwood.

Share this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search by keyword