The Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) conducts independent merits review of a wide range of administrative decisions made under Commonwealth laws by the Australian Government and some non-government bodies. We also review decisions made under Norfolk Island laws.
This fact sheet provides information about:
- what types of decisions we can review
- how you can apply to the AAT
- what we do when we review a decision, and
- how you can find out more about the AAT.
What kinds of decisions do we review?
We can review decisions made under more than 400 Commonwealth laws. The most common types of decisions we review relate to:
- child support
- Commonwealth workers’ compensation
- migration and refugee visas and visa-related decisions
- social security, family assistance, paid parental leave and student assistance payments
- veterans' entitlements.
We also review many other types of decisions, including those relating to Australian citizenship, bankruptcy, civil aviation, corporations and financial services regulation, customs, freedom of information, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, passports and security assessments by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).
However, we can’t review every decision made by the Australian Government. We can only review a decision if an Act, regulation or other legislative instrument states that the decision can be reviewed by the AAT.
The AAT is not always the first step in having a decision reviewed. In some cases, we can’t review a decision until there has been an internal review of the primary decision or review by a specialist review body like the Veterans’ Review Board.
How will I know if the AAT can review my decision?
When you receive a decision, it should state if the AAT can review it. We can also give you information about the types of decisions we can review. Contact us to find out more.
How do I apply?
The rules relating to how you can apply for a review of a decision vary, depending on the type of decision you want reviewed.
For most applications relating to decisions about visas made by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, you must lodge your application online or fill out an application form. For other types of decisions, there are different ways in which you can lodge your application. Most applications have to be made in writing, by:
- lodging your application online
- filling out an application form, or
- writing us a letter or email.
You can call us on 1800 228 333 to make an oral application for some social services and child support matters. More information is available at www.aat.gov.au/applyingforreview
Are there time limits for applying to the AAT?
There are time limits for lodging an application for a review of most types of decisions. Strict time limits apply to applications relating to decisions about visas made by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. The time limit for applying for review is usually stated in the notice of the decision that you want us to review.
Is there an application fee?
In many cases, there is no application fee. For example, there is no fee for applications relating to Commonwealth workers’ compensation, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, social security or family assistance payments, veterans’ entitlements decisions and most child support decisions.
There is an application fee for other kinds of cases, such as decisions about visas and taxation decisions. If you are successful, you might be entitled to a partial refund.
More information about how to apply, time limits and fees is available on our website or you can call us.
What can we do when we review a decision
We review a decision “on the merits”. That means we take a fresh look at a decision, including considering any new information, and decide if it should stay the same or be changed.
- affirm the decision (the decision is not changed)
- vary a decision
- set aside a decision and substitute a new decision, or
- remit a decision to the decision-maker to be decided again.
We are independent of the person or organisation that made the decision.
The procedures we will follow when we review a decision vary depending on the type of decision you want reviewed. More information about the steps in a review is available on our website or you can call us.
Our aim is to provide a review process that is accessible, fair, just, economical, informal, quick and proportionate to the importance and complexity of the matter.
How can I find out more about the AAT?
A wide range of information about the AAT and our procedures is available on our website (www.aat.gov.au).
You can also call us on 1800 228 333 (calls are free from landline phones, however calls from mobiles may be charged).
Non-English speakers can call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 and ask them to call the AAT.
If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service. For more information visit (www.relayservice.gov.au).