Federal appeals tribunal gets legal overhaul, new name

Thousands of people who have cases before the federal appeals tribunal will soon have their decisions reviewed faster.

Laws overhauling the Administrative Appeals Tribunal passed federal parliament on Tuesday, paving the way for cases to be expedited before the body.

The changes will see the the tribunal get a new name, which will now be called the Administrative Review Tribunal.

The tribunal regularly hands down judgements on government decisions such as visas or welfare payments.

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said the laws would restore confidence to the appeals tribunal.

“This bill represents the most important reform of the federal system of administrative review in decades,” he told parliament on Tuesday.

“Stakeholders have repeatedly noted their support for the establishment of a new federal administrative review body that will promote greater integrity, accessibility, consistency, flexibility and transparency.”

Mr Dreyfus said the laws would ensure applications before the tribunal would be resolved in a more timely way.

The law changes come following more than $206 million given to the body over four years in the recent federal budget.

Mr Dreyfus said the funding boost would allow the tribunal to resolve a growing backlog of cases before the body.

“The complete funding commitment will support the tribunal to deliver the measures in the bill, update its ageing case-management systems, increase accessibility and assist to resolve backlogs,” he said.

A merit-based selection process will also be set up for the appointment of tribunal members under the laws.


Andrew Brown
(Australian Associated Press)


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Categories: Legal