The National Code of Conduct for Healthcare Workers sets out a range of minimum standards for health practitioners not regulated by AHPRA (the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency). This National Code, agreed to by the Australian Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council in April 2015, is intended to be enacted by every Australian 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 these states and territories should be aware that the Codes are expected to be introduced nationwide in the future.
For further information on the National Code and for contact information in each state and territory, go to: https://www.coaghealthcouncil.gov.au/NationalCodeOfConductForHealthCareWorkers
New South Wales
From 1 September 2012, the code of conduct has been operating in NSW for Unregistered Health Practitioners. Counsellors and psychotherapists practicing in NSW are required to comply with this Code and to display the Code at their place of practice. For more information on the NSW Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners, click here.
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 here. Counsellors and Psychotherapists practicing in Queensland are required to comply with the Code and display it in their place of practice.
For more information on the implementation of the Code in Queensland, click here.
In March 2019 South Australia implemented the Code of Conduct for Certain Health Care Workers, which replaces the Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners first implemented in 2013.
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).
For information on the Code of Conduct for Certain Health Care Workers, click here.
To download a copy of the Code, click here.
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 to download here.
Information about how to make a complaint to the new Victorian Health Care Complaints Commission is available on the HCCC’s website.
As of December 2019, 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 December 2019, these states have not enacted the National Code and there is no anticipated timeline for its enactment.