Yellow Card General information

In Queensland, those who work for or within a state funded facility or institution that cares for people with a disability must obtain a Disability Worker Screening Clearance (or a ‘Yellow Card’). This process is governed by the Disability Services Act 2006 (Qld) (‘the Act’) and the Disability Services Regulation 2017 (Qld) (‘the Regulations’).

The foundational principle of the Act is that: ‘People with a disability have the same human rights as other members of society and should be empowered to exercise their rights.’[1]

Additionally, the Act also recognises that people with a disability have the right to:

  • respect for their human worth and dignity as individuals; and
  • realise their individual capacities for physical, social, emotional, cultural, religious and intellectual development; and
  • live lives free from abuse, neglect or exploitation; and
  • participate actively in decisions affecting their lives, including the development of disability policies, programs and services; and
  • recognition of their individual autonomy and independence, including the freedom to exercise choice and have control of their lives.[2]

This extends to certain rights when using disability services, such as the right to receive services:

  • in a way that respects the confidentiality of personal information; and
  • in a safe, accessible built environment appropriate to the person’s needs.[3]

Working with people with disabilities in state funded services is akin to working with children in the sense that you must obtain all the relevant checks before commencement. This process has recently changed, and as on 1 February 2021 all newly engaged workers will need a disability worker screening check if they are engaged by an NDIS registered provider in a risk assessed role, or a state-funded provider delivering disability supports or services. This ‘no card, no start’ approach is to ensure that people with a disability, who may be vulnerable, receive care in the safest possible way.

The Yellow Card system checks a person’s criminal history against specific criteria as identified in the Act and the Regulations to determine whether they are suitable to work with people with disabilities.

Importantly, the Act contains schedules of serious and disqualifying offences for those who wish to obtain a Yellow Card, as well as schedules of offences that may form the basis of an investigative information. The different categories of offences are considered as part of the decision making processes for the issue and management of a person’s Yellow Card.

To ensure accountability of decision making by Disability Services, most applicants or workers who have received a screening decision that they do not agree with have the right to review or appeal under Queensland’s worker screening legislation. This includes a decision:

  • To issue an exclusion (unless the exclusion is based on a disqualifying offence);
  • Not to end an interim bar imposed on a person;
  • Not to end the suspension of a person’s clearance; and
  • A decision to refuse an application to cancel a person’s exclusion.

If a reviewable decision is made in relation to you and you’re dissatisfied with the decision, you can apply to have the decision reviewed. The review process includes:

  1. An internal review by the department; and
  2. If you remain dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you can apply to the Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal for an external review of the decision.

[1] Disability Services Act 2006 (Qld) s 18(1).

[2] Disability Services Act 2006 (Qld) s 18(2).

[3] Disability Services Act 2006 (Qld) s 18(3).


How can Robertson O’Gorman help you? 

We frequently assist clients with their Blue and Yellow Card applications. Whether that be drafting show cause submissions or representing them at hearings. We often contact Disability Services or appear in QCAT as solicitor advocate and have successfully argued for a positive notice for our clients.

The decision of ST v Director-General, Department of Justice and Attorney-General [2021] QCAT 337 is but one recent example of our firm doing this. Likewise, and depending on the complexity of the matter and the wishes of the client, we can also brief counsel in such matters. The decisions of CC v Director-General, Department of Justice and Attorney-General [2021] QCAT and HM v Director-General, Department of Justice and Attorney General [2021] QCAT are recent examples of our firm successfully arguing the reversal of a negative notice with the assistance of counsel.

Contact Robertson O'Gorman Today