Did you know that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) is going to be abolished? For almost half a century, the AAT was tasked with the function to independently review thousands of government decisions, including those of visa refusals and taxation, military compensation and social security matters.
Incumbent Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus stated that through the politically motivated appointment of previous AAT decision-makers, who may have had no relevant experience or expertise on matters that they made decisions on, the AAT had been ‘fatally compromised’ with its independence, quality and efficiency being undermined. For example, thousands of people may have been affected through decisions such as whether a visa applicant gets their visa granted or whether a military veteran receives compensation for a service injury.
The federal government has promised that the AAT will be replaced with an ‘efficient, accessible, independent and fair’ tribunal that has a merit-based selection process for new non-judicial members. Existing non-judicial AAT members will be invited in accordance with that process.
To clear case backlogs, $63.4 million is being committed over two years to hire 75 additional staff in the new review body. A further $11.7 million over that same period is also being invested to introduce a streamlined case management system. Legislation establishing the new tribunal will likely be introduced in the second half of 2023.
Current matters before the AAT will not be affected and will continue to be heard while the changes are implemented. To facilitate the AAT’s transition to the new review body, Justice Susan Kenny (Federal Court of Australia) has been appointed as the AAT acting president.
I understand, so how can I fulfill my dream of staying on in Australia?
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