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Tribunal affirms Board decision to refuse registration

30 Dec 2015

A tribunal has affirmed a decision by the Psychology Board of Australia to refuse registration to a man who applied for registration 18 years after practising as a psychologist for three and a half months.

Dr Karl Hanes applied for general registration as a psychologist in 2009. He had been registered as a psychologist from September 1996 – December 1996 when his registration lapsed. He was engaged at the time in other pursuits which did not require registration. In 2009 the Board refused his application for general registration.

When Dr Hanes appealed that decision by the former Victorian Board in 2010, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ordered him to complete a period of 240 days of supervised practice before re-applying. He was at that time registered as a provisional psychologist.

Dr Hanes applied for general registration in April 2013. The Board decided that he had not completed the required period of supervised practice in accordance with the Guidelines for the 4+2 internship program and refused Dr Hanes’ application on the basis that he:

  • was not qualified for general registration
  • was not a suitable person to hold general registration
  • failed to meet a requirement for general registration, stated in the Board’s recency of practice registration standard and
  • failed to complete a period of supervised practice in the health profession.

Dr Hanes appealed this decision to VCAT.

VCAT concluded that Dr Hanes did not meet the requirements of the Recency of practice registration standard, as there was no discretion for the Board to recognise periods of unregistered practice.

VCAT considered the 2010 agreement that settled the previous Tribunal proceedings and concluded that Dr Hanes was required to gain provisional registration before starting the period of approved supervised practice, in line with Board’s guidelines for the 4+2 internship program.

VCAT found that periods of practice by Dr Hanes outside an internship arrangement could not be counted as supervised practice. It also found he did not complete a final assessment of competence in the required form from his principal supervisor, which was required under the Board’s internship guidelines. In the absence of this assessment, the Tribunal was not satisfied Dr Hanes could practise psychology competently and safely and was therefore ineligible for registration.

VCAT noted that Dr Hanes could continue to work in the fields that he had worked in for the past 18 years, but could not engage in unregistered practice as a psychologist or call himself a psychologist.

The reasons for the Tribunal’s decision are available on AustLII

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Download a PDF of this Media release - Tribunal affirms Board decision to refuse registration (67.4 KB,PDF).

Page reviewed 30/12/2015