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Equal Opportunity Act

The purpose of the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) is to promote equality of opportunity for all South Australians. It aims to prevent discrimination against people and to give them a fair chance to take part in economic and community life.

Types of unlawful discrimination

Not all kinds of discrimination are against the law. Under South Australian law, only particular types of discrimination occurring in certain places are against the law.

In South Australia, it is unlawful to discriminate because of:

Discrimination laws also cover:

South Australian law changed on 2 October 2009. Changes include new grounds of discrimination such as caring responsibilities, identity of spouse or partner and religious dress at work or in school. It also expands disability discrimination to include all kinds of disabilities. And it covers discrimination against customers because they are accompanied by a child or are breast-feeding or bottle-feeding a child. The new law also removes, or reduces, former exceptions to the law about sexuality discrimination.

Places where discrimination is unlawful

The Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) only covers discrimination that happens in public life, not in private. In South Australia it is unlawful to discriminate in:

Loss or humiliation

Discrimination is against the law when, as a result, someone:

  • feels humiliated, embarrassed, ridiculed, denigrated or segregated
  • is denied access or refused services
  • loses an opportunity or income.

Time limits

A complaint about something that happened can be made within 12 months of that date. Late complaints can be accepted in some cases. Contact us for more information.


Sometimes discrimination that would usually be against the law is allowed under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA). Exemptions are specific and strict requirements apply.

For more information see Exceptions to the rules.

Related information
Pages with related information: 

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