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A new system of federal administrative review

The Australian Government has announced reform to Australia’s system of administrative review. This reform will abolish the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and replace it with a new federal administrative review body. The reform will also include a transparent, merit-based system of appointments.

A taskforce within our department will implement the reform.

Purpose of the reform

This reform is designed to ensure Australia’s system of administrative review is:

  • user-focused
  • efficient
  • accessible
  • independent
  • fair.

Key features

Key features of the reform are to:

  • implement a transparent and merit-based appointments process
  • provide additional capacity to enable the rapid resolution of existing backlogs
  • implement consistent funding and remuneration arrangements to enable the new system to respond flexibly to fluctuating case numbers
  • improve the accessibility of merits review by providing additional support services and emphasising early resolution where possible
  • implement a single, updated case management system to address critical business risks to the AAT, and
  • introduce procedural efficiencies to ensure the efficient resolution of cases.

New Appointment Guidelines

As part of the reform, the Government has developed new AAT Appointment Guidelines.

Under the Guidelines, all vacancies must be advertised. Applicants will be assessed against clear criteria by an appropriately constituted panel.

Implementation

The Australian Government will legislate to abolish the AAT and create a new federal administrative review body. This work will be led by a dedicated taskforce within the Attorney-General’s Department. It will be informed by an Expert Advisory Group chaired by former High Court Justice the Hon Patrick Keane AC KC. The Government will consult with stakeholders on the design of the new body.

Impact on AAT staff

Once the new federal administrative review body has been established, all ongoing and non‑ongoing Australian Public Service employees employed by the AAT at that time will transition to the new body on equivalent terms and conditions.

Impact on cases currently before the AAT

All cases currently before the AAT will continue. If you have applied to the AAT for review of a decision, you do not need to submit a new application.

Many cases currently before the AAT will be decided or finalised before the new federal administrative review body is established. Any remaining cases will transition to the new review body.

As part of the reform, the Government will appoint an additional 75 new members to the AAT to deal with existing backlogs.

Future review applications

AAT members will continue to consider applications for review of administrative decisions until the AAT is abolished.

You can apply for a review of a decision while the reform is being progressed.

Find out more

To find out more about the reform:

Note: our phoneline will be closed on public holidays and from Friday 23 December 2022 to Monday 2 January 2023).

Services for people with hearing or speech impairments

If you are deaf, have a hearing and/or speech impairment contact us through the National Relay Service and give 1800 936 050 as the number you would like to call.

Interpreter services

If you need an interpreter, call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) on 131450 and ask them to call us on 1800 936 050.