Special Measures

A special measure is a program, plan or arrangement designed to promote equality of opportunity. Special measures are a form of lawful 'positive' discrimination in favour of groups, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons or persons with a disability, who have not yet achieved equality in employment.


The Australian Government has identified the following groups within Australia who have not yet achieved equality in employment generally:

  1. Women
  2. Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islanders
  3. People with Disabilities
  4. Non English speaking migrants and their first generation children

The Northern Territory Commissioner for Public Employment has prioritised the following groups for special measures:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ('Aboriginal people')
  • people with disabilities.

Types of special measures

The two main types of special measures plans used in NTPS selections are:

  1. Designated Positions is where an agency specifically designates a vacancy for a person from an EEO group and it cannot be filled by any person from outside that group
  2. * Priority Consideration and Preference in Selection Plans under which applicants from the EEO target group will be considered first before all other applicants, and given preference in selection if they meet all the criteria and are suitable at level.

* In the discretion of the agency, priority plans can apply to specific vacancies or to all vacancies ("blanket plans"). Under priority plans applicants who belong to the plan's EEO group will be considered for employment before other applicants, and, if suitable at the level required, will be selected, and the selection process finalised at that stage without assessment of other applicants being required.

Special measures guidelines

If an agency has an approved special measures plan in place, they must follow these strict conditions:

  1. the intention to use a Special Measures plan must be clearly stated in the Job Description and when advertising the vacancy
  2. successful applicants (including those in EEO groups) must meet all the essential selection criteria and be suitable to perform the duties at a level commensurate with that of the position
  3. applicants selected under a Special Measures Plan must provide proof of their EEO status upon commencement of employment
  4. if there is more than one applicant from the EEO group then the selection decision between those applicants is based on who is the most suitable.

If an agency would like to discuss the implementation of a special measures plan please call the Director, Public Sector Appeals and Grievance Reviews on (08) 8999 4128.

More information on special measures

Read more about special measures on the links and documents below:

Policy and Guidelines

Information and FAQs


Other Links

Last updated: 14 September 2018