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Government Codes of Conduct

The National Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners sets out a range of minimum standards for health practitioners not regulated by AHPRA (the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency). This National Code is then enacted by every state and territory.

While counselling and psychotherapy is a self-regulating profession and we do have a registration system through PACFA and ARCAP (the Australian Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists), the government still treats us as “unregistered” because we are not covered by the mandatory registration requirements of AHPRA.

New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia have introduced the National Code of Conduct to provide some accountability for our practice, although the requirements in the Codes are very generic and are not always relevant to counsellors and psychotherapists. Tasmania, Western Australia, ACT and NT are yet to implement the code. Practitioners in should be aware that the Codes are expected to be introduced nationwide in the future.

New South Wales

From 1 September 2012, the code of conduct has been operating in NSW for Unregistered Health Practitioners. A copy of the NSW Code of Conduct is available for download.  Counsellors and psychotherapists practicing in NSW are required to comply with this Code and to display the Code at their place of practice.


From 1 October 2015, the National Code of Conduct for Healthcare Workers (Queensland) came into force. A copy of the code is available for download.  Counsellors and Psychotherapists practicing in Queensland are required to comply with the Code and display it in their place of practice.

Further information can be found here.

South Australia

From 14 March 2013, a Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners came into force for practitioners in South Australia. A copy of the SA Code of Conduct is available for download.

Counsellors and psychotherapists practicing in South Australia are required to display the Code of Conduct, your relevant qualifications, and information about how clients can make a complaint to the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner (HCSCC).


From 1 February 2017, Victoria has introduced a General Code of Conduct in respect of general health services which applies to all practising counsellors and psychotherapists. The Code of Conduct is available for download.

Information about how to make a complaint to the new Victorian Health Care Complaints Commission will be available on the HCCC’s website.

Western Australia

As of 8 March 2018, Western Australia has not enacted the National Codes. Consultation on the codes ended on 9 February 2018 and the timeline for enactment is unknown.

Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania & Northern Territory

As of 8 March 2018, these states have not enacted the National Code and there is no anticipated timeline for its enactment.

Further Information

The status of the National Code in these states and territories may change, for the most up to date information please contact the relevant state or territory health complaints entity listed below. If you have any questions about the National Code you can contact your relevant health complaint entities and their contact details:

ACT: Health Services Commissioner / Human Rights Commission: (02) 6205 2222

NSW: Health Care Complaints Commission: (02) 9219 7444

NT: Health and Community Services Complaints Commission: (08) 8999 1969

QLD: Office of the Health Ombudsman: (07) 3120 5999

SA: Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner: (08) 8226 8666

Tas: Health Complaints Commissioner: 1800 001 170

Vic: Health Services Commissioner: 1300 582 113

WA: The Health and Disability Services Complaints Office: 1800 813 583