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House of Representatives

Tribunals Amalgamation Bill 2014

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Attorney-General, Senator the Honourable George Brandis QC)
This memorandum takes account of amendments made by the Senate to the bill as introduced and supersedes the explanatory memorandum tabled in the Senate

General outline

1. The Tribunals Amalgamation Bill 2014 (the Bill) would merge the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT) and Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal (MRT-RRT) by amending a range of Commonwealth Acts, including the:

·
Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (AAT Act)
·
Migration Act 1958 (Migration Act)
·
Social Security Act 1991 (the SS Act)
·
Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (SSA Act)
·
Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (CSA Act)
·
Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 (CSRC Act)
·
A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (FA Act)
·
A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 (FAA Act)
·
Paid Parental Leave Act 2010 (PPL Act), and
·
Student Assistance Act 1973 (SA Act).

2. The amalgamated Tribunal would be established under the AAT Act and would be called the AAT.

3. The amalgamation would:

·
further enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the Commonwealth merits review jurisdiction and support high quality and consistent Government decision making
·
generate savings through shared financial, human resources, information technology and governance arrangements
·
provide for greater utilisation of members' specialist expertise across subject matters and facilitate the sharing of expertise between members and staff
·
incorporate the successful features of the tribunals as currently constituted, and
·
incorporate merits review of freedom of information decisions into the work of the amalgamated tribunal.

4. This reform draws on recommendations in successive public reports.

5. The amalgamation would primarily affect the Tribunals' internal administrative and corporate operations and is not intended to materially affect the rights of tribunal users.

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

6. The amalgamation of the Commonwealth external merits tribunals is expected to produce savings over the forward estimates period of $7.2 million through reductions in back office and property expenses.


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