Australia - OPCAT Situation

OPCAT Status

OPCAT signature date
OPCAT ratification date
OPCAT ratification comment

Ratification with a declaration under Article 24 to postpone the implementation of its obligations under Part IV (NPM designation) of the OPCAT for three years.

Uncat ratification Date
NPM Type

Multiple Institutions

NPM Designated

Commonwealth Ombudsman, with state and territory NPMs still to be designated.

Australia ratified the the OPCAT in December 2017, with a declaration under Article 24 of the treaty to postpone the designation of its National Preventive Mechanism for three years (Part IV of the OPCAT).

When Australia ratified the OPCAT it also announced that the Commonwealth Ombudsman would act as NPM Coordinator, with responsibility for coordinating a multiple body NPM across the states and territories. The Commonwealth Ombudsman began work in this role on the 1st of July 2018, following amendments to its regulations which came into effect on the 10th of April 2019. Since beginning this new mandate, the Ombudsman has published a report on places of detention and existing oversight bodies. This report is available here.

In addition to its coordination role, the Commonwealth Ombudsman is also responsible for monitoring immigration detention facilities, military detention facilities and Australian Federal Police holding facilities.

Consultations are ongoing regarding the designation of NPMs in each state and territory. As of June 2020, only Western Australia had designated its NPM. . 

The SPT member who is the SPT Focal Point for Australia is available here.