In February 2021, the Chief Magistrate issued Guideline 2 of 2021 in relation to fees for the preparation of reports and the provision of counselling sessions.
The Chief Magistrate has issued Guidelines for the purpose of guiding Tribunal Members and Registrars in the amount of financial assistance to award for expenses relating to counselling reports and sessions. All fees awarded are at the discretion of the Tribunal.
Chief Magistrate Guideline 2 of 2021 applies to:
- all reports filed with the Tribunal on and after 8 February 2021; and
- all awards for counselling sessions made on and after 8 February 2021.
Guideline 2 of 2021 distinguishes between fees that will be awarded to registered psychologists and non-psychologist counsellors, mental health social workers and social workers. The hourly rate of assistance that will be awarded for counselling sessions by a registered psychologist is $180. The hourly rate of assistance that will be awarded for counselling sessions by a Mental Health Social Worker is $160 and a non-psychologist counsellor has been set at $145.
Fees for sessions where an applicant has failed to attend
If a counsellor intends to file an invoice with the Tribunal claiming a fee for a scheduled session that an applicant failed to attend, the counsellor is required to write to the Tribunal within seven days of the scheduled session to advise of the following:
- Date and time of scheduled session;
- Date and time of notice (if any) received from the applicant regarding their non-attendance at the scheduled session; and
- The counsellor’s published cancellation policy.
The letter from the counsellor must be accompanied by a Counselling and Report Fee Invoice (Form 5, Practice Direction 1 of 2021 - awards for counselling expenses) for the scheduled session, with an endorsement made on the invoice that the applicant did not attend the sessions as scheduled. The payment of such sessions is at the discretion of a Tribunal Member.
The initial request for non-attendance payment may be considered and authorised by a Registrar of the Tribunal. Any Subsequent non-attendance fee applications will be referred to a Judicial Officer for consideration and are likely to be deemed payable by the applicant.
Fees for preparation of reports
The Chief Magistrate has provided the following guidance in Guideline 2 of 2021 to the Tribunal in relation to awards of financial assistance for counselling reports made on and from 8 February 2021:
|Report Type||Registered Psychologist||Mental Health Social Worker/Non-Psychologist|
|First report recommending an award of financial assistance for 5 hours or less of counselling||$330||$330|
|First report recommending an award of financial assistance for more than 5 hours of counselling||*$410 to $675||$410 to $675|
|Subsequent report for award of financial assistance recommending financial assistance for further counselling than previously awarded||*$330||$330|
* and for up to 2 hours at the authorised hourly rate for time spent conducting formal testing that is necessary for the purpose of preparing the report.
|Fee (inc. GST)|
|Report Type||Registered Psychologist/Psychiatrist/Mental Health Social Worker|
|Assessment report by non-treating psychologist||$410 - $675|
Fees for counselling sessions
The Chief Magistrate has provided the following guidance to the Tribunal in relation to awards of financial assistance for counselling sessions made on or after 8 February 2021
|Duration of Individual Client Counselling Sessions||Registered Psychologist||Mental Health Social Worker||Non-Psychologist/Social Worker|
|Duration of Group or Family Counselling Sessions||Registered Psychologist||Mental Health Social Worker||Non-Psychologist/ Social Worker|
|30 minutes||$75 per person to a maximum of $190||$65 per person to a maximum of $180||$55 per person to a maximum of $160|
|60 minutes||$115 per person to a maximum of $330||$105 per person to a maximum of $300||$95 per person to a maximum of $270|
The Tribunal has released a new Counselling Fee Guideline following advice from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) that certain psychological services are exempt from GST.
In accordance with this advice, session fees in accordance with Guideline 2 of 2021 are no longer inclusive of GST.
For further information see ATO website:
Travel expenses associated with counselling
Awards for counselling expenses do not include assistance for travel expenses of the applicant and/or counsellor for attendance at a counselling session. Where an applicant seeks financial assistance for travel expenses to attend counselling, the applicant must make a specific request for that assistance in writing to the Tribunal in accordance with Chief Magistrate Practice Direction 1 of 2016- Awards of Assistance for Travel Expenses.