The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

6.3.1 AAT first reviews

AAT first review objective

The objective of the AAT first review is to provide a review mechanism that is:

  • fair
  • just
  • economical
  • informal, and
  • quick.

Individuals may apply to the AAT for a first review of a Centrelink decision if their interests are affected by an internal review decision.

Application for a review of Centrelink decisions

Where the decision relates to the payment of FTB by instalments, or to the raising of a debt, there is no time limit for applying for a first review by the AAT. However, date of effect rules in the FA law may limit the amount of payments that an individual can receive when a decision is made in their favour. It is therefore important that applications for first review are lodged with the AAT at the individual's earliest convenience.

Where the decision relates to other types of FA, an application to the AAT for a first review must be made within 13 weeks of the individual being notified of a decision.

Where an individual is prevented from making an application for an AAT first review within the allowable time due to special circumstances, the AAT may permit the individual to make an application after the 13-week period and within such further period as it considers appropriate.

Applications can be made in written or oral form to an AAT office or other agencies approved by Centrelink.

Review & appeal process of child support matters

See CS Guide Part 4 for a description of child support objections and appeals processes.

Continuation of payment

If an unfavourable decision is made and the decision depends upon the exercise of discretion, the Secretary may declare that entitlement to FA may continue during the review process.

Notification of a first review decision by the AAT

When making notification of a first review decision, the AAT must give a written notice that sets out the decision and either:

  • give reasons for the decision orally and invite parties to request a written statement, or
  • give the parties a written statement of reasons.

This must be provided to the parties within 14 days of making a decision.

Explanation: The parties to the review include:

  • the individual
  • the Secretary, and
  • any other person who is a party to the review.

Date of effect of the decision

The following table outlines the date of effect of different AAT first review decisions.

If the AAT … then the decision takes effect …
varies or sets aside a decision from the date of the original decision.
makes a new decision immediately after the decision is made unless the AAT specifies a different date.

Non-reviewable decisions

The following decisions are not reviewable:

  • the form and manner of claim
  • the continuation of payment pending review of an unfavourable decision
  • the Secretary requiring information, or
  • the Secretary's power to settle proceedings before the AAT second review.

Act reference: FA(Admin)Act section 110 Simplified outline of this Division, section 111 Application for AAT first review, section 111A Time limit for application for AAT first review, section 113 Secretary may continue certain matters pending outcome of application for AAT first review, section 115 Variation of original decision after application is made for AAT first review, section 123 Decision on AAT first review of care percentage decision, section 124 Certain other decisions on AAT first review, section 125 Date of effect of certain AAT first review decisions relating to payment of FTB, section 141 Settlement of proceedings before the AAT

Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 section 43(1) Tribunal's decision on review, section 29(1) Manner of applying for review, section 29AA Oral applications, section 30 Parties to proceeding before Tribunal

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