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Tribunal: Member J Thomson

The applicant (the father) in this matter objected to a decision of the Child Support Agency (Agency) to not allow him an extension of time. He applied to the AAT to review this decision.

The key question for the AAT was whether or not an extension of time should be granted for the review of this decision. In reviewing the application, the AAT had to determine whether the applicant’s reasons for lodging his objection out of time were reasonable, and if so, whether an extension of time would likely support a successful outcome to the original objection.

The AAT noted it was clear from the applicant’s communication with the Agency that he intended to formally object to the original decision. For example, he had lodged a formal online complaint form and spoken with an Agency officer on multiple occasions. However, the applicant did not include a formal request for extension of time when he lodged the objection, despite it being lodged out of time.

The AAT was satisfied that the applicant had provided a reasonable explanation for his delay in lodging a formal objection to the Agency’s decision. The AAT was also required to determine the likelihood of success of the appeal, should an extension of time be granted.

To determine this, the AAT considered the applicant’s claims that the income and financial resources of the mother of his children had not been accurately reflected in the child support assessment. He was unable to provide sufficient evidence to support his claim, and the AAT noted the mother’s income and assets had previously been closely examined.

The AAT found that while there was a reasonable explanation for the delay in lodging an objection, the evidence provided at the AAT hearing suggested, on balance, that the applicant’s case had no merit. His prospects of success, if an extension of time were to be granted, would be poor.

The AAT affirmed the decision under review and refused to direct the Agency to grant an extension of time.

Read the full decision on AustLII.