MHCC Mental Health Rights Manual

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Chapter 10 Section D : Complaints bodies

There are a number of organisations that have formal authority to deal with complaints and disputes. These include organisations such as the police and the courts, as well as specialist organisations that deal with particular types of complaints.

The following bodies deal with specific types of complaints and you can follow the links to find out more about what they do.

    To find out more about roles and complaint processes directly relevant to people with mental illness in involuntary treatment in NSW click here.

    The Complaints Line is a comprehensive website that sets out the relevant complaints body for a range of areas in all parts of Australia. Click here to go to the Complaints Line website.

    If you need an interpreter to communicate with any of the complaints bodies, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450* and give them the details of the organisation you want to speak to. Apart from the local call cost this is a free service.

    * Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) and to Local call numbers (numbers starting with 13 or 1300) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.1: The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC)

    The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) is an independent NSW Government agency which is responsible for dealing with complaints about health services provided in NSW. It can deal with complaints about any registered health practitioner (such as a doctor, dentist, or nurse), other allied health practitioners (such as massage therapists, naturopaths, counsellors and psychotherapists), and any health service organisation, such as public and private hospitals, day surgeries and medical centres.

    The HCCC deals with complaints in relation to the clinical management, care and treatment provided by the health care practitioner or health care service, the professional conduct of health care practitioners, and risks to the health and safety of the public. Because it looks at standards of care, the HCCC can investigate a complaint that the health care or treatment that you got was below the accepted standard.

    The HCCC does not have the power to direct a health practitioner to provide you with a specific service or to award damages, compensation or to order a health practitioner or health service to refund the health care costs you may have incurred from them.

    Patients of mental health care practitioners and mental health services (whether voluntary or involuntary patients) have the same right as any other health care consumer to complain to the HCCC about the quality of the care they have been provided, or about the professional conduct of a health practitioner involved in their care (such as a psychiatrist or mental health nurse).

    However, the HCCC cannot deal with complaints about the initial detention of a person in hospital as a mentally ill person or mentally disordered person (unless there has been a failure to comply with the legal requirements for detention) or with involuntary detention and treatment that has been authorised by the Mental Health Review Tribunal. If your complaint is about your detention in a Mental Health Facility, and the Facility’s Authorised Medical Officer refuses to discharge you, you can appeal this refusal to the Mental Health Review Tribunal. You can find out more about this by talking to an Official Visitor or the Mental Health Advocacy Service.

    Complaints to the HCCC have to be in writing. The investigation of complaints may take some time, as the HCCC will first need to assess your complaint, and depending upon the outcome of that, seek a response from the health care practitioner or health care service you have complained about. If the HCCC decides to continue to investigate your complaint after receiving the health practitioner or service’s response, it may then obtain expert opinions and, in the case of registered health practitioners, consult with the relevant health professional council or association before deciding what to do. Consequently, it may take considerable time for the HCCC to make a final decision about your complaint.

    Phone: (02) 9219 7444
    Freecall: 1800 043 159*
    Teletypewriter (TTY): (02) 9219 7555
    Fax: (02) 9281 4585
    E-mail: hccc@hccc.nsw.gov.au
    Online complaint form
    Website: www.hccc.nsw.gov.au
    Office hours: 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday
    Street address: Level 13, 323 Castlereagh Street (cnr Hay St) SYDNEY NSW 2000
    Postal address: Locked Mail Bag 18
    STRAWBERRY HILLS NSW 2012

    The HCCC Inquiries Officer will be able to provide you with information and advice about making a complaint to the HCCC and help to make a complaint if you find it difficult to do so in writing. They may also be able to provide you with advice about other ways of resolving your complaint or concerns.

    You do not have to be a consumer of a health care practitioner or health care service to make a complaint about that practitioner or service to the HCCC. A relative or friend can make a complaint about the care and treatment given to another person.

    When you put in your complaint, it will be assessed. After assessment it can be investigated further by the HCCC, referred to the Health Conciliation Registry for conciliation, referred to the HCCC’s Resolution Service, or referred to another more appropriate complaints body.

    The HCCC can also refuse to deal with a complaint. Even if the HCCC refuses to deal with your complaint, it will still keep a record of your complaint. Sometimes, if later on there are other complaints about the same health practitioner or health care provider, the HCCC will again look at your complaint.

    If you don’t agree with the HCCC’s assessment decision you can ask for an internal review of the assessment decision. Although there is no legal time limit on making requests for an internal review, you must do so as soon as possible or the HCCC may decline to conduct the internal review. The HCCC expects review decisions to be made within 28 days of the assessment decision.

    If your complaint is investigated and is about a health care practitioner, then an outcome could be disciplinary proceedings against the practitioner. If it is about a health care provider, and is investigated, an outcome might be that the HCCC makes comments leading to changes in the policies and procedures of the health care provider.

    The HCCC cannot direct that compensation be paid to you as an outcome from investigation or any other HCCC assessment decision. However, in some circumstances, compensation or restitution (which might be a refund) can form part of an agreement following the conciliation process.

    For more information on making a complaint to the HCCC if you are an involuntary patient, click here.

    *Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.2: The Official Visitor

    If you are a patient in a Mental Health Facility or subject to compulsory mental health treatment in the community (under a Community Treatment Order) and you have concerns about the standard of care of care you are receiving you can contact the Official Visitor on 1800 208 218. *

    Official Visitors are appointed by the NSW Minister for Health, and not to any particular Area Health boundaries.

    The panels that visit Mental Health Facilities now must have either a medical practitioner or a non-medical clinical member, plus another suitably qualified person.

    Two or more Official Visitors visit each mental health facility, at least once a month for an inpatient facility and at least every 6 months for an outpatient facility.

    Official Visitors must visit each mental health inpatient facility and private psychiatric hospital in a Local Health District at least once a month and each health care agency (Community Mental Health Service) in a Local Health District at least once every 6 months.

    Panels of Official Visitors have the legal right to inspect every part of the hospital or health care provider and make such enquiries as they think necessary about care and, treatment of voluntary and involuntary patients and people subject to Community Treatment Orders. They have the power to examine all records and registers and to interview any patient, or person subject to a Community Treatment Order. Official Visitors are not able to discharge patients.

    Official Visitors often are medical practitioners, but also may be other health care professionals, community representatives or lawyers. They must be independent of NSW Health. However, Official Visitors are paid a small amount for each visit.

    *Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.2.1: How to contact an Official Visitor

    Official Visitors have a statutory function (stated in the Mental Health Act 2007 (NSW) to raise any significant public mental health issues or patient safety issues.

    Official Visitors visit hospitals once a month and public community mental health care providers twice a year. You should let staff know if you want to see an Official Visitor during their next visit.

    If you want to see the Official Visitor urgently you can ask the hospital or community staff to arrange it. The Medical Superintendent of a hospital or the Director of a health care provider must notify an Official Visitor of such a request within two days.

    Most hospitals also have a locked box in a patient area where confidential messages can be left for the Official Visitors. The Official Visitors are the only people who can access the contents of these boxes. You should make sure you put your name and the date on the message so that the Official Visitors can follow up as quickly as possible. Ask the Nurse Unit Manager or a Social Worker where the box is located if you can’t find it.

    There should be a poster about Official Visitors, with a telephone number on which the Official Visitor can be contacted, displayed in the hospital or unit. This number gets through to the Official Visitor's Line.

    Freecall: 1800 208 218*
    Fax: (02) 9817 3945

    In writing: In the Official Visitors Box in the ward

    or

    Official Visitors
    Locked Bag 5016
    GLADESVILLE NSW 1675

    Office hours: Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
    If you ring, even in business hours, you may get an answering machine. To be dealt with as quickly as possible, you should leave your details and the circumstances of your complaint on the answering machine.

    * Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.2.2: Who can see the Official Visitors?

    The following people have the right to see an Official Visitor:

    • Voluntary patients of a NSW Mental Health Facility
    • Involuntary patients of a NSW Mental Health Facility
    • People under Community Treatment Orders administered by a NSW Mental Health Facility
    • Carers and family members of patients in a NSW Mental Health Facility or subject to a Community Treatment Order administered by a NSW Mental Health Facility

    In practice, Official Visitors will also talk to relatives, friends and other health care and welfare professionals who have an interest in the care and treatment of a person who has been admitted as a patient.

    10D.2.3: What can the Official Visitors do?

    Official Visitors must write a report to the Principal Official Visitor after each visit. The reports are confidential and are not given to hospital staff.

    Official Visitors can do all or any of the following:

    • Talk to the health care professionals who are treating a particular person. This can often result in increased communication between concerned people about the treatment and care of that person.
    • Raise concerns about treatment and care with senior hospital staff. Some problems can be solved at this level, especially if they are about particular hospital policies and practices.
    • Accept confidential complaints about hospital care.
    • Review the contents of the medical files of a person (which they can do without the patient's consent).

    If you want your complaint to be confidential and not communicated to hospital staff you should make this clear to the Official Visitor, preferably in any written message or complaint that you give the Official Visitor. Official Visitors can then make their own observations and enquiries about the particular complaint and communicate their views to the Principal Official Visitor and/or the Minister for Health.

    You can complain to the Official Visitors about the standards of facilities and services, for example, the quality and nutritional value of food you get and about hygiene or overcrowding.

    If you or your family and friends are finding it hard to contact the Official Visitors, you can report the problem to the Principal Official Visitor:

    Phone: (02) 8876 6301
    Fax: (02) 9817 3945
    Website: http://www.ovmh.nsw.gov.au/

    Postal address: The Official Visitor
    Locked Bag 5016
    GLADESVILLE NSW 1675

    10D.3: Private Health Insurance Ombudsman

    If you have a complaint about private health insurance you can contact the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman at:

    Address: Level 7, 362 Kent Street, Sydney NSW 2000.
    Complaints Hotline: 1800 640 695*
    Telephone: (02) 8235 8777
    Facsimile: (02) 8235 8778

    E-mail: info@phio.org.au

    Office hours: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Fridays
    (not on public holidays)

    Website: http://www.phio.org.au/

    *Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.4: NSW Ombudsman

    If your concerns are about a NSW Government Department or Agency or community or disability service funded by the NSW Government, other than one that provides a health care service, then you can contact the NSW Ombudsman.

    The NSW Ombudsman deals with complaints about administration within the NSW Government. That means that you can complain to the NSW Ombudsman about how a NSW Government Department or Agency deals with you (or what they have failed to do). The Ombudsman also deals with complaints about some government-funded disability and community service organisations.

    The NSW Ombudsman does not deal with complaints about health care standards or complaints about the ethical or professional conduct of health care professionals. The Health Care Complaints Commission does this job. The NSW Ombudsman can deal with complaints about access to health care or the conduct of government employees involved in providing health care when the complaint is not about professional standards.

    An important feature of the Ombudsman schemes is that they generally don't have any power to order the organisation complained about to do something, even if the Ombudsman finds that the complaint is proved. Their focus is upon making recommendations for changes to policies and practices so as to improve the performance of agencies within their jurisdiction, rather than remedying specific unfairness or harm to an individual. Receiving complaints from the public about an agency’s conduct is one of the ways that they do this. However, this approach often does result in some improvement to the specific circumstances faced by the person who has made a complaint.

    The NSW Ombudsman has a page on 'Tips' for making complaints.

    To contact the NSW Ombudsman:

    Freecall: 1800 451 524*
    Teletypewriter (TTY): (02) 9264 8050
    Phone: (02) 9286 1000
    Facsimile: (02) 92832911

    Online complaint form

    E-mail: nswombo@ombo.nsw.gov.au

    Street address: Level 24, 580 George Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000

    *Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.5: Aged Care Complaints Scheme

    If you have concerns, want information or want to complain about an aged care facility (nursing home or hostel) you can contact the Commonwealth Aged Care Complaints Scheme.

    This Scheme investigates complaints about aged care services and their obligations under the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth).

    You can contact the Scheme for information, to make a complaint or raise a concern about anything to do with the care and services provided to aged care recipients. For example, you can complain about care, catering, financial matters, hygiene, equipment, security, activities, choice, comfort and safety.

    Click here for more information about the Aged Care Complaints Scheme.

    You can you provide information or make a complaint to the Aged Care Complaints Scheme by:

    Freecall: 1800 550 552*

    Online complaint form

    Post address: C/- Department of Health and Ageing
    GPO Box 9848
    Sydney NSW 2000.

    *Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    If you disagree with a decision of the Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme, you can contact the Office of the Aged Care Commissioner at the following contact points:

    Freecall: 1800 500 294*
    E-mail: acc@agedcarecommissioner.gov.au
    Website (with online complaint form): http://www.agedcarecommissioner.gov.au
    Street address: Level 4, 12-20 Flinders Lane
    MELBOURNE VIC
    Postal address: Locked Bag 3
    COLLINS STREET EAST VIC 8003

    If you are in an aged care facility and you are concerned about aspects of the health care you have been given in that facility, you should complain to the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC). You could also make the Aged Care Complaints Scheme aware of your complaint.

    If you have a assisting someone make a complaint about aged care services, there are resources in this Complaint Handling Toolkit designed to support better practice in complaint handling in this area, follow this link. Many of these resources and templates can be modified. 

    If you want advice about your complaint or concerns you can also contact The Aged Care Rights Service (TARS).

    *Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.6: National Disability Abuse Hotline

    The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline is an Australia-wide telephone hotline for reporting abuse and neglect of people with disability who are using government-funded services. Complaints made to the hotline are referred to the appropriate authority for investigation.

    Abuse and neglect can include physical, sexual, psychological, legal and civil abuse, restraint and restrictive practices, or financial abuse.Abuse and neglect can also include the withholding of care and support that exposes an individual to harm.

    Government-funded services used by people with disability include open or supported employment; accommodation, community and respite care services.

    The Australian National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline can be contacted on:

    Phone: 1800 880 052*
    Teletypewriter (TTY): 1800 301 130*
    National Relay Service: 1800 555 677*
    Website: www.disabilityhotline.net.au

    *Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.7: The Complaints Resolution and Referral Service

    The Complaints Resolution and Referral Service is for people using Australian Government-funded disability employment and advocacy services.

    The Complaints Resolution and Referral Service deals with complaints about:

    • any problem with a disability employment, vocational rehabilitation, targeted support or advocacy service, such as not getting a service or being unfairly required to leave the service; 
    • issues related to the Disability Services Standards; 
    • issues related to occupational health and safety or wages.

    You can contact the Complaints Resolution and Referral Service at:

    Phone: 1800 880 052*
    Phone: (02) 9370 3174
    Fax: (02) 9318 1372
    Teletypewriter (TTY): 1800 301 130*
    Postal address: Locked Bag 2705
    STRAWBERRY HILLS NSW 2012
    Website: www.crrs.net.au

    *Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.8: Anti- Discrimination Bodies

    If you have a complaint of discrimination that happened in NSW, there are two organisations that may be able to deal with your complaint:

    If your complaint is about a Federal Government department or agency or staff of one of these, then you will need to complain to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

    There are some differences between the processes and outcomes of these two bodies and you should get advice before you decide which to complain to. For information about where to get advice and legal assistance, click here.

    There are also organisations in all of the other states and territories that perform a similar role to the Board and the Commission. For information about what organisations deal with anti-discrimination law in other states and territories (other than NSW), click here.

    10D.8.1: NSW Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB)

    If you think you have a complaint or claim under NSW anti-discrimination law you should contact the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board.

    Complaints to the Anti-Discrimination Board must be in writing. The Board has a complaint form in PDF or word that can be downloaded from its website. Click here to go to the webpage to download the form. Or you can simply write a letter detailing what happened, etc. The form is useful as it sets out the information that you should, if possible, include in your complaint, whether it is on the form or in a letter.

    Once the Board gets your complaint, it reviews it to make sure that it is a complaint of discrimination that is within the Board's powers to investigate. If it is, the Board will then contact the person and/or organisation(s) you have complained about and provide them with a copy of your complaint and ask for their response. That response will be provided to you for your comment.

    The Board can, if necessary, call a meeting with you and the person or organisation you have complained about in order to try to resolve the complaint through discussion and agreement. This is called a conciliation meeting. You can ask to have a lawyer or advocate with you at a conciliation meeting. Generally, if you are not legally represented, the other side should not be.

    If your complaint isn’t resolved through the conciliation process, you can then decide whether or not you want to have it dealt with by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. This is a more formal process, somewhat similar to a court.

    For more information about how to make a complaint to the ADB, click here. 

    The Anti-Discrimination Board has offices in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong and can be contacted on:

    Website: www.antidiscrimination.lawlink.nsw.gov.au

    Sydney Office
    Phone: (02) 9268 5555
    Fax: (02) 9268 5500
    Teletypewriter (TTY): (02) 9268 5522
    Freecall: 1800 670 812*

    Street address: Level 4, 175 Castlereagh Street
    SYDNEY NSW

    Postal address: PO Box A2122
    SYDNEY SOUTH NSW 1235

    Wollongong Office
    Phone: (02) 4224 9960
    Fax: (02) 4224 9961
    Teletypewriter (TTY): (02) 4224 9967
    Freecall: 1800 670 812*

    Street address: 84 Crown Street
    WOLLONGONG NSW

    Postal address: PO Box 67
    WOLLONGONG NSW 2520

    Newcastle Office
    Phone: (02) 4926 4300
    Fax: (02) 4926 1376
    Teletypewriter (TTY): (02) 4929 1489
    Freecall: 1800 670 812*

    Address: Level 1, 414 Hunter Street
    NEWCASTLE WEST NSW 2302

    * Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.8.2: Australian Human Rights Commission

    If you think you have a claim under Commonwealth anti-discrimination law, contact the Australian Human Rights Commission (previously called the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission or HREOC).

    Complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission must be in writing, but a complaint can be in a language other than English. There are several ways you can make a complaint. You can make your complaint online using the online complaint form. Click here to go to the online complaint form. Remember to print yourself a copy of your completed form before you send it.

    The Australian Human Rights Commission also has a complaint form in PDF or word that can be downloaded from its website. Click here to go to its website to download a form. You can also simply write a letter detailing what happened, etc. The online or downloadable complaint form is useful as it sets out the information that you should, if possible, include in your complaint, whether it is on the form or in a letter.

    Once the Australian Human Rights Commission receives complaint, it reviews it to make sure that it is a complaint about discrimination that is within the Commission's powers to investigate. If it is, the Commission will then contact you and the person and/or organisation(s) you have complained about and provide them with a copy of your complaint and may ask for their response. That response will be provided to you for your comment.

    The Australian Human Rights Commission can, if necessary, call a meeting of you and the person or organisation you have complained about in order to try to resolve the complaint through discussion and agreement. This is called a conciliation meeting. You can ask to have a lawyer or advocate with you at a conciliation meeting. Generally, if you are not legally represented, the other side should not be.

    If your complaint isn't resolved through the conciliation process, you can then decide whether or not you want to have it dealt with by the Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court of Australia. This is a formal court procedure.

    Click here for information about complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

    You can contact the Australian Human Rights Commission on:

    Phone: 1300 656 419*
    Phone: (02) 9284 9888
    Teletypewriter (TTY): 1800 620 241*
    Fax: (02) 9284 9611

    Online complaints form: click here
    E-mail: complaintsinfo@humanrights.gov.au
    Website: http://www.humanrights.gov.au

    *Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.9: The Privacy Commissions: Commonwealth and NSW

    Both the Commonwealth Privacy Commission and the NSW Information and Privacy Commission deal with complaints about personal information privacy, including health information privacy. Both Commissions consider whether the Privacy Principles have been breached when dealing with a complaint.

    Both Commonwealth and NSW Privacy Principles include a right (with exceptions) that everybody has to access their health records.

    If the complaint is about a NSW Government Department or Agency, then it is best to complain to the NSW Information and Privacy Commission.

    If the complaint is about a private health care provider, such as a private hospital, a GP or a medical centre, then you can complain to either the Commonwealth or NSW Privacy Commission.

    If the complaint is about a Commonwealth Government Department or Agency you should complain to the Commonwealth Privacy Commission.

    10D.9.1: Commonwealth Privacy Commission

    The Commonwealth Privacy Commissioner can be contacted on:

    Phone: 1300 363 992*
    Teletypewriter (TTY): 1800 620 241*
    Fax: (02) 9284 9666

    E-mail: privacy@privacy.gov.au

    Postal address: GPO Box 5218
    SYDNEY NSW 2001

    Website: http://www.privacy.gov.au

    Complaints to the Commonwealth Privacy Commission have to be made in writing.

    If you need help to make a complaint, call the Enquiries Line on 1300 363 992*.

    *Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) and to Local call numbers (numbers starting with 13 or 1300) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.9.2: NSW Information and Privacy Commission

    The NSW Information Privacy Commission can be contacted on:

     Phone: (02) 8688 8585
    Fax: (02) 8688 9660

    E-mail: privacy_nsw@agd.nsw.gov.au

    Street address: Justice Precinct Offices
    160 Marsden Street
    PARRAMATTA NSW

    Postal address: Locked Bag 5111
    PARRAMATTA NSW 2124

    Website

    10D.10: Financial Ombudsman Service

    The Financial Ombudsman Service resolves disputes between consumers and its member Financial Services Providers. It is a service that is offered as an alternative to going to court if you have a dispute with a business that has provided you with a financial service (this includes including banking, credit, loans, general insurance, life insurance, financial planning, investments, stock broking, managed funds and pooled superannuation trusts).

    Click here to find out how to lodge a dispute with the Service.

    Click here to go to the Financial Ombudsman Service's website.

    To contact the Financial Ombudsman Service:

    Phone: 1300 780 808*
    (03) 9613 7366
    Fax: (03) 9613 6399

    Postal address: GPO Box 3
    MELBOURNE VIC 3001

    Online complaints/disputes: click here.

    *Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.11: Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)

    The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman investigates complaints about telephone and internet services and is a free and independent alternative dispute resolution scheme for consumers in Australia with unresolved complaints about these services.

    Contact the TIO on 1800 062 058*

    Click here to visit the website.

    Click here to lodge an online complaint.

    *Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.12: Energy and Water Ombudsman (EWON) (NSW)

    The Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW (EWON) offers a free service resolving complaints about energy and water suppliers in NSW.

    EWON can deal with:

    • disputed accounts, high bills
    • debts, arrears
    • disconnection or restriction of supply
    • actions of a supplier that affect your property
    • reliability of supply
    • quality of supply (including claims for compensation)
    • connection or transfer issues
    • negotiated contracts
    • marketing practices
    • poor customer service

    Click here to find out how to make a complaint to EWON (including complaints forms).

    If you are having problems paying your electricity, gas or water bill, there are options available. Click here for more information.

    Click here to go to the EWON NSW website

    EWON contact details:

    Freecall: 1800 246 545*
    Freefax: 1800 812 291

    Freepost: Reply Paid K1343
    HAYMARKET NSW 1239

    Online complaint form 

    E-mail: omb@ewon.com.au

    Address: Level 11, 133 Castlereagh Street
    SYDNEY
    (By appointment -1800 246 545)

    Office hours: 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Fridays
    (not on public holidays)

    *Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

    10D.13: Complaints about Disability and Community Services provided in NSW: NSW Ombudsman (Community Services Division)

    In addition to investigating complaints about NSW Government Departments and Agencies, the NSW Ombudsman’s Community Services Division also handles complaints about a range of human service agencies funded or licensed by the NSW Government (including Assisted Boarding Houses).

    You can complain about:

    • the way a disability or community service is provided to someone;
    • the failure or refusal of a disability or community service to provide a service to someone;
    • a decision of a disability or community service to withdraw or change a service to someone;
    • a disability or community service being provided to someone who should not be getting it, or who does not want it (e.g., a child protection intervention).

    The NSW Ombudsman has also developed an on-line workshop to help people who have complaints about the disability and community services.The online workshop is called The Rights Stuff.

    Disability service providers who provide supported group accommodation and respite services funded by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services must also report incidents of abuse or neglect of persons with disability in their care to the NSW Ombudsman. This includes allegations of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and sexual and other physical assault by an employee, deception or fraud by an employee, alleged sexual and other offences committed by one resident on another, breach of an apprehended violence order taken out to protect a person with disability and unexplained serious injuries to persons with disability in care.

    To contact the NSW Ombudsman:

     Freecall: 1800 451 524*
    Teletypewriter (TTY): (02) 9264 8050
    Phone: (02) 9286 1000
    Facsimile: (02) 92832911
    Online complaints
    E-mail: nswombo@ombo.nsw.gov.au
    Address: Level 24, 580 George Street
    SYDNEY NSW 2000

    10D.14: Complaints that your human rights have been violated: Australian Human Rights Commission or United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

    If you believe that your human rights, as these have been recognised or declared in a human rights treaty that has been ratified by the Australian Government have been violated, you may be able to complain to the Australian Human Rights Committee or to a United Nations Treaty Body through the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    The Australian Human Rights Commission has the power to inquire into acts or practices of Commonwealth agencies (or agents of the Commonwealth) that are inconsistent with or contrary to human rights as this is defined in the Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1986 (Cth). The definition of human rights includes most, but not all, of the major human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

    You cannot complain to the Australian Human Rights Commission about alleged violations of your human rights by the NSW Government or a private sector organisation, or an individual, unless you are somehow able to show that the Commonwealth is responsible for their conduct.

    The Australian Human Rights Commission has the power to investigate and, if possible, to conciliate your complaint, but if the matter cannot be resolved, the most that can happen is that the Commission will report on your complaint to the Commonwealth Attorney-General who must then provide a copy to the Federal Parliament. There is no way for you to enforce the outcome of the complaint. Any response will be up to the Government.

    You can contact the Australian Human Rights Commission on:

    Phone: 1300 656 419*
    Phone: (02) 9284 9888
    Teletypewriter (TTY): 1800 620 241*
    Fax: (02) 9284 9611
    Online complaints form
    E-mail: complaintsinfo@humanrights.gov.au
    Website: www.humanrights.gov.au

    You may also be able to make a complaint to a Treaty Body (or independent committee of experts) responsible for international oversight of a human rights treaty that your human rights have been violated. In the case of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, the Treaty Body is called the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Such a complaint is called a ‘communication'.

    Communications are not limited to the conduct of Australian Government agencies. You can also allege violations by a State Government or a non-State ‘actor’, such as a corporation. However, it will be the Australian Government that is responsible for answering the communication.

    Before you can make a Communication, you must have first exhausted all reasonably available domestic remedies. For example, if you can take action in an Australian Court to deal with the violation you allege, you ordinarily could not make a communication until that process has been completed.

    If the Treaty Body decides to deal with your communication, it will ask the Australian to respond to your complaint within six months. At the end of its consideration of your communication the Treaty Body may adopt a decision which incorporates findings and recommendations relating to your complaint. However, these decisions cannot be enforced under Australian law. Ultimately it will be up to the Australian Government if it will act on the Treaty Body’s findings and recommendations.

    You can find out more about the process of making a communication from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights by clicking this link

     

     DISCLAIMER

    • The legal and other information contained in this Section is up to date to 30 January 2015
    • This Manual only refers to the law and practices applying to the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) - unless it states otherwise.
    • MHCC does not guarantee the accuracy nor is responsible for the content or the currency of the content of external documents and websites linked to this Manual.