In carrying out our functions, the AAT must pursue the objective of promoting public trust and confidence in our decision-making. In 2018–19, we undertook a range of activities directed to the achievement of this objective, including publishing our decisions, producing plain English summaries of our decisions and launching a new website.
The publication of written statements of reasons for AAT decisions informs parties, representatives and the public about our role and procedures, how we interpret and apply the law, and why we have made the decision in individual cases. We publish decisions in accordance with the AAT Publication of Decisions Policy which is available on our website. We generally publish:
- all written decisions in the FOI, General, NDIS, Security, Small Business Taxation, Taxation and Commercial, and Veterans’ Appeals Divisions
- all written decisions in certain types of cases in the Migration and Refugee Division and a randomly selected proportion of decisions in the higher volume categories of cases
- a randomly selected proportion of child support decisions in the Social Services and Child Support Division.
In accordance with the policy, we have published 5,905 decisions made by the AAT in 2018–19, comprising 4,367 Migration and Refugee Division decisions, 323 child support decisions made in the Social Services and Child Support Division and 1,215 decisions made in our other divisions. We review the policy annually, including the targets specified for different categories of cases, to ensure we meet our target of publishing at least 5,000 decisions each financial year with a representative cross-section of our decisions.
During the reporting year, we published 91 plain English summaries of our decisions in our monthly enewsletter, The Review. Each issue also includes topical information about different aspects of the AAT’s work. The publication enhances understanding about our role, operations and decisions.
In February 2019, the AAT launched our new website. It was redesigned to make it easier for people to find information relating to the type of decision they want reviewed, including a tool with guided questions for first-time users. Information about each step in the process for a particular type of decision, from applying for a review to receiving a decision, can be easily accessed from every page relating to that type of decision. The content was also rewritten in plain English to make it easier to understand.