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Spent Convictions Scheme

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The information on this webpage is to be read in conjunction with this disclaimer:

Australian National Character Check (ANCC) makes every effort to provide updated and accurate information to its customers. However due to the continuously changing nature of legislations for the Commonwealth and various States and Territories, it is inevitable that some information may not be up to date. The information on the website is general information only. The contents on the website do not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal or professional advice. While we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, suitability, accuracy or availability with respect to the information.

Although a nationally coordinated criminal history check reveals Disclosable Court Outcomes (DCOs) of an individual (if any), not all offences may be revealed on the check. This depends largely on the purpose of the check being obtained.

Though police checks are meant to protect the community, the vulnerable, citizens, resources and the state, it should not become a basis for discrimination towards individuals (who failed their check). This is one of the objectives of the Spent Convictions Scheme.

Page Contents

What is the Spent Convictions Scheme?

This scheme is backed by legislation known as the spent convictions legislation. It limits the disclosure of certain older offences once a period stipulated by the law expires or some certain conditions are met.

The period is generally referred to as the 'waiting period' or the 'crime-free' period.

Generally, the waiting period is;

However, if a person re-offends during the waiting period, the 'waiting time' clock restarts and the person has to re-qualify for the legislation above.

It should also be noted that certain serious offences do not qualify for the spent convictions scheme and will always show up on a police check.

Is a spent conviction disclosed on a police check?

Convictions are categorised as spent according to each State’s/Territories and Commonwealth legislation and will not be disclosed on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check in Australia.

However, for some purposes of the check, some convictions will be revealed in the police check. For example, in all States and Territories, sex offences are never classified under the Spent Convictions Scheme and are always disclosed irrespective of the time elapsed since the conviction.

Application for police checks for the following purposes may disclose details of older convictions/findings of guilt. This list is not exhaustive, and depending on varying State legislations, other purposes might qualify in addition to;

Are Spent Convictions the same in all Australian States and Territories?

For an offence to qualify as a spent conviction, it must conform to the Spent Convictions Scheme of that State. However, where the offence is already capable of being spent, it will be spent automatically. If the offence was committed in Western Australia, you will have to apply to the WA Police to have the offence spent.

Every state and territory has different policies and legislations regarding what offences and other criteria offences qualify as being spent.

Who applies the spent convictions policy on my police check?

If you have requested for a police check, before issuing the results, the Australian police agencies will apply the legislation or information release policy of that State or Territory to any offences the person may have.


All Australian states and territories have spent convictions legislation or information release policies that determine the disclosure of criminal convictions on a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check result.

The police are responsible for administering relevant legislation or information release policies.

The below links outline the spent convictions legislation for the Commonwealth and each Australian state and territory:

Legislation: Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)

Website link to legislation:

Legislation: Spent Convictions Act 2000 (ACT)

Website link to legislation:

Legislation: Criminal Records Act 1991 (NSW)

Website link to legislation:

Legislation: Criminal Records (Spent Convictions) Act 1992 (NT)

Website link to legislation:

Legislation: Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986 (Qld)

Website link to legislation:

Legislation: Spent Convictions Act 2009 (SA)

Website link to legislation:

Legislation: Annulled Convictions Act 2003 (Tas)

Website link to legislation:

Legislation: Spent Convictions Act 2021 (Vic)

Website link to legislation:

Legislation: Spent Convictions Act 1988 (WA)

Website link to legislation:

If your police check result contains a conviction that you believe should be spent, you can dispute the result through the organisation that requested the police check.