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9.2.3 Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)
18.104.22.168 — The AAT is an appellate tribunal within the Commonwealth administration. It is a high level independent body which reviews decisions of Ministers, public officials and authorities on the merits of those decisions. An essential feature of the AAT is that it is a mixed tribunal with a wide ranging jurisdiction (that is, extending over many subject areas). Members of the AAT include judges, lawyers and experts in areas of decision making which fall within its jurisdiction.
22.214.171.124 — The procedures of the AAT are relatively informal and hearings may be held by telephone. Usually a preliminary conference will be held between the parties to see if agreement can be reached without the need for a hearing.
126.96.36.199 — The AAT has the power to affirm, vary, or set aside the delegate's decision and substitute its own decision. It may also remit the matter to a delegate for reconsideration in accordance with any directions or recommendations they make.
188.8.131.52 — It must be emphasised that the AAT does not have the power to review any administrative decision, but has jurisdiction conveyed upon it by legislation such as the VEA. Therefore the legislative basis for AAT review of decisions made under the VEA is contained in Part X VEA.
175(2) Where the Commission, under section 57B VEA, affirms a decision of the Commission referred to in section 57 VEA or sets it aside and substitutes another decision for it, a person may apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision so affirmed or substituted.
184.108.40.206 — It is therefore important that decisions made by delegates are correctly worded. A determination citing incorrect legislative references as bases of the decision can lead to the AAT finding that they have no jurisdiction to review the case and this can effectively deny the person their entitlement to a review of the Department's decision by an independent body.
220.127.116.11 — A decision made by the Commission using AAT guidelines is considered to be a decision made at the primary level and carries a right of review under subsection 57(1) VEA or subsection 57(2) VEA. In such cases, the claimant or pensioner must be advised of their right of review.
18.104.22.168 — Recovery action is to proceed even where an appeal has been lodged with the AAT, unless the debtor obtains a stay order from the AAT. This also applies to the imposition and recovery of any penalty interest and administrative charge incurred.