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The AAT can review decisions made under more than 400 Commonwealth Acts and legislative instruments. The AAT is unable to review all decisions, only those where the law specifically states that we can.

We most commonly review decisions relating to:

  • child support
  • commonwealth workers’ compensation
  • family assistance, paid parental leave, social security and student assistance
  • migration and refugee visas and visa-related decisions
  • taxation
  • veterans’ entitlements
  • Australian citizenship
  • bankruptcy
  • corporations and financial services regulation
  • freedom of information
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme

The AAT is independent of the person or department that made the original decision. We undertake a merits review which involves taking a fresh look at the facts, law and policy relating to that decision. Decisions are made by members appointed by the Governor-General. In most cases, the AAT can look at new information that was not available to the original decision-maker. We consider all the information before us and decide what the legally correct decision is or, if there can be more than one correct decision, the preferable decision.

When the AAT reviews a decision, we can choose to affirm, vary, set aside or remit the decision.

  • If we affirm the decision, it means the decision is not changed.
  • If we vary a decision, it means the decision is changed or altered in some way.
  • If we set aside a decision, it means we agree or partially agree the original decision was wrong.
  • We might replace it with a new decision or we might remit the decision which means we send the matter back to the department to make a new decision in accordance with our instructions or recommendations.

View our video guide on decisions, which outlines the AAT’s decision-making process.