Express law No. 231

21 May 2015

Parliament passes the Tribunals Amalgamation Bill 2015

On 13 May 2015, Parliament passed the Tribunals Amalgamation Bill 2015. The Bill has not yet received the Royal Assent.

From 1 July 2015, the Social Security Appeals Tribunal and the Migration Review Tribunal–Refugee Review Tribunal will merge with the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) into a single merits review tribunal. The amalgamated Tribunal will be established under the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 and will be known as the AAT. Justice Duncan Kerr Chev LH will remain President of the AAT.

The Bill amends a range of Commonwealth Acts, including the:

  • Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975
  • Migration Act 1958
  • Social Security Act 1991
  • Social Security (Administration) Act 1999
  • Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989
  • Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988
  • A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999
  • A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999
  • Paid Parental Leave Act 2010
  • Student Assistance Act 1973.

The amalgamated AAT is expected to review over 40,000 applications every year in relation to areas including tax matters, visa applications, social security benefits, workers compensation, disability support, freedom of information requests and veterans' entitlements.

The changes are primarily directed at the administrative, procedural and corporate operations of the amalgamated AAT. They are not intended to affect substantive review rights. The existing divisional structure will remain with new divisions added to reflect the merged functions:

  • General Division
  • Migration and Refugee Division
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme Division
  • Security Division
  • Social Services and Child Support Division
  • Taxation and Commercial Division
  • Freedom of Information Division.

The Veterans' Review Board and the Classification Review Board are not included in the amalgamation.

For further information please contact:

Elena Arduca

Senior Executive Lawyer

T 03 9242 1473

Jane Lye

Senior Executive Lawyer

T 07 3360 5736

Justin Davidson

Senior Executive Lawyer

T 02 6253 7240

Tara McNeilly

Senior General Counsel

T 02 6253 7374

Important: The material in Express law is provided to clients as an early, interim view for general information only, and further analysis on the matter may be prepared by AGS. The material should not be relied upon for the purpose of a particular matter. Please contact AGS before any action or decision is taken on the basis of any of the material in this message.