Skip to main content

A new system of federal administrative review

The Australian Government has introduced legislation that would abolish the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and establish a new, fit-for-purpose federal administrative review body to be named the Administrative Review Tribunal (Tribunal).

The Tribunal would be user-focused, efficient, accessible, independent and fair.

Key features of the reform

The reform to Australia’s system of administrative review aims to:

  • implement a transparent and merit-based appointments process
  • appoint additional members to address existing backlogs
  • implement sustainable funding arrangements
  • implement a single, updated case management system to address critical business risks
  • introduce procedural efficiencies and process improvements
  • implement support services and emphasise early resolution where possible.

Introduction of legislation

The government has introduced 3 Bills to parliament:

On 21 March 2024, the Bills passed the House of Representatives. The Bills were introduced in the Senate on 25 March 2024.

Further information on proposed key features of the Tribunal, as well as detail on parliamentary scrutiny and including amendments to the Bills, is available in the overview of the Administrative Review Tribunal legislation.

The Tribunal's commencement date will depend on timing of passage of the legislation, as well as other transitional arrangements.

Public consultation

The Bills have been informed by:

  • the outcomes of public consultation undertaken in April and May 2023
  • guidance from the Administrative Review Expert Advisory Group, chaired by former High Court Justice, the Hon Patrick Keane AC KC
  • close engagement across government and with the AAT
  • targeted consultation on draft legislation in September and October 2023
  • the parliamentary scrutiny process.

We released the Administrative Review Reform Issues Paper and short survey on 3 April 2023. We received 120 formal submissions and 287 short survey responses, and met with over 140 individuals and organisations in 80 consultation meetings throughout April and May 2023 to discuss the matters in the issues paper.

We also met with over 400 AAT staff and over 160 AAT members and heard directly from AAT users across a number of user experience consultation sessions.

Expert Advisory Group

An Advisory Group has provided significant guidance on the reform to Australia’s system of federal administrative review.

The Advisory Group comprises:

  • former High Court Justice, the Hon. Patrick Keane AC KC (Chair)
  • Ms Rachel Amamoo
  • Emeritus Professor Robin Creyke AO
  • Professor Anna Cody
  • Emeritus Professor Ron McCallum AO
  • The Hon. Alan Robertson SC
  • Emeritus Professor Cheryl Saunders AO.

Appointments

The ART Bill would enshrine a transparent and merit-based selection process for members, who are responsible for making the Tribunal’s decisions. This would ensure independent and high-quality decision-making within the Tribunal.

Other than Judicial Deputy Presidents, all member positions in the Tribunal would be required to be filled through a competitive, publicly-advertised and merit-based process conducted by an assessment panel. This process would be supported by rules that set out a detailed procedure and selection criteria for the process, similar to those contained within the current AAT Appointment Guidelines.

Information about appointments made in the course of this reform can be found on our Statutory appointments page. This page will also provide information about appointment opportunities for the Tribunal as they are opened.

Arrangements for AAT staff

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

The government consulted the AAT on the design of the Tribunal and will continue to engage with the AAT over the course of the reform.

Impact on AAT cases

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

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

Many cases currently before the AAT will be decided or finalised before the Tribunal is established. Any cases that are before the AAT will transition to the new Tribunal when it commences.

The jurisdiction of the Tribunal would be the same as the AAT, which reviews decisions made under more than 400 Commonwealth Acts and instruments, including in areas of child support, workers’ compensation, social security, the NDIS, migration and refugee visas, taxation, security and veterans’ entitlements.

Applicants will not need to submit a new application for review of these cases. Applicants will receive notice prior to the establishment of the Tribunal and be provided with information on the process of transitioning their case.

More information

To contact the Taskforce or stay up to date with information about the reform: