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5.9 Administrative Appeals Tribunal reviews and decisions

Table 5.9A: Decisions of the Federal Court of Australia: AAT appeals in 2019–20


Decision under review

Federal Court decision

National Disability Insurance Agency
v WRMF [2020] FCAFC 79

(12 May 2020)

Whether the AAT had erred in its decision that a sex therapist was a reasonable and necessary support, particularly whether the AAT had failed to accord the applicant procedural fairness, failed to perform its statutory task, made findings of fact that were not open to it, erred in construing and applying provisions of the Act and/or failed to provide adequate reasons.

The Full Federal Court dismissed the appeal.

Table 5.9B: Decisions in the AAT, NDIS Division, in 2019–20


Decision under review

Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision

NNXF and the National Disability Insurance Agency [2019] AATA 5552
(23 December 2019)


A three-member panel (the Hon. Justice D G Thomas; Deputy President S A Forgie; Deputy President Britten-Jones) of the AAT considered whether the AAT has jurisdiction in circumstances where the Agency has not made a reviewable internal review decision as soon as ‘reasonably practicable’.

A majority of the three-member panel found that the AAT had jurisdiction, on the basis that the Agency was ‘deemed’ to have made a reviewable decision by operation of section 25 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (AAT Act).

WRMF and National Disability Insurance Agency [2019] AATA 1771 (8 July 2019)

Deputy President
B W Rayment OAM QC

Planning: whether the services of a sex therapist is a reasonable and necessary support
(section 34).

Agency decision set aside.

Sexual therapy services provided once a month is a reasonable and necessary support. The AAT distinguished ‘sex therapist’ from ‘sex worker’. The AAT found the support would help the applicant ‘realise her potential for social and emotional development and to participate in social life’ (section 4(1)) which goes to whether the support is reasonable and necessary.

Klewer and National Disability Insurance Agency [2019]
AATA 4974
(25 November 2019)

Deputy President John Pascoe

Decision: whether to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem.

The decision was to hold the matter in abeyance pending the appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem for the applicant. The AAT relied on the wide powers set out in paragraph 33(1)(a) of the AAT Act.

Williamson and National Disability Insurance Agency [2019] AATA 2944 (20 August 2019)

Deputy President
S A Forgie

Issue: whether power to make a decision in relation to the terms agreed upon by the parties was effective by means of section 26 of the AAT Act, sections 42C(1) and (3) or 42D of
the AAT Act.

Sections 42C(1) and (3) do not provide the appropriate vehicle to achieve the result that the parties seek. The most appropriate vehicle is provided by section 42D.