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Caseload overview

The AAT received 60,595 applications and finalised 44,413 applications in 2018–19. There were 69,488 applications on hand at 30 June 2019. Applications lodged, finalised and on hand, 2015–16 to 2018–19 illustrates the number of applications lodged and finalised in the last four financial years, and the number of applications on hand at 30 June in each year.

Applications lodged, finalised and on hand, 2015–16 to 2018–19Bar chart showing the total number of applications lodged, finalised and on hand in the ‘2015–16’ to ‘2018–19’ financial years.

The number of applications lodged with us in 2018–19 was three per cent higher than the number lodged in 2017–18, maintaining the trend of increases in lodgements over time. While finalisations in the reporting period were 11 per cent higher than the number of applications finalised in 2017–18, the overall number of applications on hand increased significantly again this year, 30 per cent higher at 30 June 2019 than at 30 June 2018. The number of applications lodged and finalised in 2018–19 and on hand at the end of the reporting period were the highest on record for the AAT.

Applications lodged, finalised and on hand, 2018–19 – By divisionBar chart showing the number of applications lodged, finalised and on hand by division in ‘2018–19’. Division categories are ‘Freedom of Information’, ‘General’, ‘Migration and Refugee’, ‘National Disability Insurance Scheme’, ‘Security’, ‘Small Business Taxation’, ‘Social Services and Child Support’, ‘Taxation and Commercial’ and ‘Veterans’ Appeals’.

As shown in Applications lodged, finalised and on hand, 2018–19 – By division, the size of our workload varies significantly between divisions: 60 per cent of applications made in 2018–19 were in the Migration and Refugee Division, 27 per cent in the Social Services and Child Support Division, and nine per cent in the General Division. A total of four per cent of applications were in the FOI, NDIS, Security, Small Business Taxation, Taxation and Commercial, and Veterans’ Appeals Divisions.

We received approximately 16,000 more applications than we finalised in the reporting period achieving an overall clearance rate of 73 per cent. We finalised more applications than we received in the Veterans’ Appeals Division and achieved clearance rates above 90 per cent in the General, Security, Social Services and Child Support, and Taxation and Commercial Divisions as well as clearance rates above 80 per cent for the FOI and NDIS Divisions. For the Migration and Refugee Division, the clearance rate of 58 per cent, while 11 percentage points higher than in 2017–18, continues to be affected by sustained high level of lodgements and the lower than required number of people and financial resources currently available to undertake that work. The low number of finalisations in the Small Business Taxation Division, established on 1 March 2019, reflects that the majority of applications were lodged later in the reporting period and remained on hand at 30 June 2019.

Of the 69,488 applications on hand at 30 June 2019, 86 per cent were in the Migration and Refugee Division, six per cent in the General Division and five per cent in the Social Services and Child Support Division. Applications in the FOI, NDIS, Security, Small Business Taxation, Taxation and Commercial, and Veterans’ Appeals Divisions made up less than four per cent of the active caseload.

More detailed information about the operations of the AAT’s divisions is set out below. Information about the types of applications lodged and finalised in 2018–19 is available in Appendix 4: Additional caseload statistics.

Applications may be finalised in different ways, as illustrated in Outcomes of applications for review of decisions, 2018–19. In 2018–19, the majority of applications were finalised by the Tribunal making a decision on review, usually after conducting a hearing. In seven per cent of finalised cases, the reviewable decision was either affirmed, varied or set aside or the application was dismissed as a result of a consent agreement reached between the parties. The remaining 36 per cent of applications were withdrawn, finalised on the basis that they did not meet the requirements for a valid application, or otherwise dismissed without the Tribunal reviewing the decision. The distribution of outcome types is broadly similar to the previous year.

As shown in Mode of finalisation of applications for review of decisions, 2018–19, the Tribunal changed the decision under review in 25 per cent of all applications finalised in 2018–19, two percentage points higher than the result for 2017–18. Further information on outcomes of reviews by division and major areas of work within certain divisions is available in Appendix 4: Additional caseload statistics.Outcomes of applications for review of decisions, 2018–19Pie chart showing the outcomes of applications for review of decisions in 2018–19. Segments are ‘Decision affirmed’, ‘Decision varied or set aside’ and ‘Dismissed / No jurisdiction / Withdrawn’.

Mode of finalisation of applications for review of decisions, 2018–19Pie chart showing the mode of finalisation of applications for review of decisions in 2018–19. Segments are ‘By decision’, ‘Withdrawn’, ‘No jurisdiction’, ‘By consent’, and ‘Dismissed by Tribunal’.By decision’ includes applications finalised by a decision of the AAT on the merits under section 43 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act or section 349 or 415 of the Migration Act. ‘No jurisdiction’ includes applications in relation to which the AAT cannot review the decision. ‘By consent’ are applications finalised in accordance with terms of agreement reached by the parties. See the notes to Table A4.3 for a full description of the outcome types.