The Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 came into operation on 1 July 1976 and established an independent body for the review of decisions made under Commonwealth legislation - the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

The AAT is concerned with reviewing the merits of decisions made by Ministers and officials under delegated authority in specified cases provided for by legislation.

With the enacting of the Defence Service Homes Amendment Act 1988, certain decisions made under the DSH Act since 19 December 1988 have been reviewable decisions with appeal rights to the AAT. The DSH Act provides generally that an adverse decision made by an authority under the Act (the Secretary or the Minister) or by its delegate, in relation to an application for assistance, must be advised in writing to the person whose interests are affected by the decision. The decision should be accompanied by a statement of the reasons for the decision and of the person's right to have the decision reviewed. That right, and the arrangements which apply in the event of the person exercising that right, are specified in the DSH Act. It is important to note that decisions made in respect of insurance claims and underwriting are not reviewable decisions as defined in Section 4(1) of the Defence Service Homes Act 1918.