What We Can and Cannot Investigate

The Ombudsman has the power to investigate complaints about State and local government authorities.

Other Complaint Resolution Bodies

State Government Authorities

State government authorities include all Victorian government departments:

  • Education and Training
  • Health and Human Services
  • Justice and Regulation
  • Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
  • Premier and Cabinet
  • Environment, Land, Water and Planning
  • Treasury and Finance.

The Ombudsman also has jurisdiction over most statutory bodies, such as:

  • WorkSafe Victoria
  • Transport Accident Commission
  • Universities and other tertiary institutions
  • VicRoads
  • Selected professional boards eg. Legal Services Board.

Local Government

Actions by local councils in relation to matters such as:

  • enforcement of parking, building or planning regulations
  • nuisance control
  • rate and service charges
  • liability claims against Council
  • drainage matters
  • roads, construction, maintenance and closures
  • contracts or agreements with Council
  • building matters
  • planning and subdivisions permits, advertising and zoning.

How to complain

Any member of the public can complain. Complaints may also be made by a group of persons, a company or a partnership.

Before complaining to the Ombudsman, you should first try to resolve your complaint with the organisation concerned.

The Ombudsman does not give legal advice and you do not need a lawyer to complain to the Ombudsman.

If you are unsure as to whether your complaint can be considered, please contact the Ombudsman for advice.

What we cannot investigate

The Ombudsman is not able to investigate complaints about:

  • private organisations such as banks, finance companies or shops
  • disputes between individuals
  • departments and authorities of the Commonwealth and states other than Victoria
  • decisions by Ministers of the Crown
  • decisions made by courts and tribunals

Unless there are special circumstances, the Ombudsman does not investigate:

  • complaints more than 12 months old
  • complaints which may be appropriately decided by a court or tribunal (for this reason, the Ombudsman does not usually investigate complaints about infringements).

From 2012, with the establishment of the Freedom of Information Commissioner, the Ombudsman no longer has jurisdiction in relation to FOI complaints. 

The Ombudsman does not give legal advice.

For bodies that can deal with complaints outside the Ombudsman's jurisdiction - eg: complaints about electricity, banks, phone and internet providers, etc.