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Wednesday, 27 May 1987
Page: 3451

(Question No. 4673)


Mr McArthur asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 23 September 1986:

(1) How many appeals are currently before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

(2) Of these, how many concern the Department of (a) Social Security and (b) Veterans' Affairs.

(3) How many appeals were lodged with the AAT in each year since 1982-83.

(4) For each of these years (a) how many appeals concerned the Department of (i) Social Security and (ii) Veterans' Affairs and (b) how many appeals concerned assets test decisions by the Department of (i) Social Security and (ii) Veterans' Affairs.

(5) For each of the years and categories mentioned in the reply to part (4), how many cases involved (a) the Department as appellant and of these, how many were decided in the Department's favour and (b) the beneficiaries as appellants and of these, how many were decided in the beneficiaries' favour.

(6) For each of the years and categories mentioned in the reply to part (4) how many appeals were withdrawn by (a) the Department of (i) Social Security and (ii) Veterans' Affairs, (b) beneficiaries and (c) in total.

(7) For each of the years and categories mentioned in reply to part (4), what has been the (a) longest and (b) average delay between the lodgment of an appeal and the handing down of the decisions.


Mr Lionel Bowen —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The following information has been provided by the Registrar of the Tribunal from records kept by the Tribunal. Where the statistics refer to applications concerning the Department of Social Security and Veterans' Affairs, they relate only to appeals from decisions of those Departments concerning benefits which they administer (i.e. they do not cover appeals from decisions of those Departments concerning, say, freedom of information matters). The symbol ``n.a.'' is used to indicate that the Tribunal did not have the relevant jurisdiction during the period in question. The Veterans' Appeals jurisdiction was conferred on the Tribunal on 1 January 1985; the Assets Test jurisdiction in relation to both Veterans' Affairs and Social Security matters was conferred on 21 September 1984.

In respect of the current financial year the statistics provided by the Tribunal cover the period from 1 July 1986 to the commencement of the current sittings of the Parliament (i.e. to 16 February 1987).

(1) There were 2,293 non-tax applications before the AAT as at 16 February 1987. It is estimated that a further 65,000 applications to review taxation decisions were before the AAT on that date.

(2) (a) 635 and (b) 814.

(3) 1 July 1982 to 30 June 1983-

1 721

1 July 1983 to 30 June 1984-

2 120

1 July 1984 to 30 June 1985-

1 809

1 July 1985 to 30 June 1986-

2 555

1 July 1986 to 16 February

1987-

2 030 (excluding taxation appeals)

On 1 July 1986 47,162 taxation appeals were transferred from the former Taxation Boards of Review to the Tribunal.

(4) (a) (i)

1982-83 ...

1 104

1983-84 ...

931

1984-85 ...

566

1985-86 ...

753

1986-87 ...

522

(to 16.2.87)

(ii)

1982-83 ...

n.a.

1983-84 ...

n.a.

1984-85 ...

71

1985-86 ...

663

1986-87 ...

666

(to 16.2.87)

(b) (i)

1982-83 ...

n.a.

1983-84 ...

n.a.

1984-85 ...

2

1985-86 ...

130

1986-87 ...

42

(to 16.2.87)

(ii)

1982-83 ...

n.a.

1983-84 ...

n.a.

1984-85 ...

1

1985-86 ...

83

1986-87 ...

27

(to 16.2.87)

(5) (a) Departments as Appellants

(i) Department of Social Security as appellant

The decisions which are subject to appeal are made by the Department of Social Security. Accordingly, the Department of Social Security is never the appellant.

(ii) Department of Veterans' Affairs as appellant

The Department has not been the appellant against any assets test decisions. In relation to other decisions the following information is provided:

Total Number of Appeals

Decision Favourable to Department

1982-83 ...

n.a.

1983-84 ...

n.a.

1984-85 ...

2

Nil (1 matter still pending)

1985-86 ...

46

3 (26 matters still pending)

1986-87 ...

(to 16.2.87)

43

Nil (39 matters still pending)

(b) Beneficiaries as Appellants

(i) Social Security (All cases)

Total

Decision favourable to applicant

1982-83 ...

1 104

No figures are available

1983-84 ...

931

No figures are avail- able

1984-85 ...

566

298 (14 matters still pending)

1985-86 ...

753

258 (167 matters still pending)

1986-87 ...

(to 16.2.87)

522

25 (436 matters still pending)

(ii) Veterans' Appeals (All cases)

Total

Decision favourable to applicant

1982-83...

N/A

n.a.

1983-84...

N/A

n.a.

1984-85...

69

29 (4 matters still pending)

1985-86...

617

125 (185 matters still pending)

1986-87...

(to 16.2.87)

623

4 (561 matters still pending)

(iii) Social Security (Assets Test Cases)

Total

Decision favourable to applicant

1982-83...

N/A

n.a.

1983-84...

N/A

n.a.

1984-85...

2

Nil

1985-86...

130

39 (39 matters still pending)

1986-87...

(to 16.2.87)

42

2 (36 matters still pending)

(iv) Veterans' Appeals (Assets Test Cases)

Total

Decision favourable to applicant

1982-83...

N/A

n.a.

1983-84...

N/A

n.a.

1984-85...

1

1

1985-86...

83

18 (23 matters still pending)

1986-87...

(to 16.2.87)

27

Nil (24 matters still pending)

(6) (a) Appeals withdrawn by Departments

(i) Department of Social Security: not applicable (see 5 (a) (i) )

(ii) Department of Veterans' Affairs:

In relation to the relevant years, there is no record of any appeal lodged by the Department having been withdrawn.

(b) Appeals withdrawn by Beneficiaries

(i) Social Security (All cases)

1982-83...

No figures are available

1983-84...

No figures are available

1984-85...

137

1985-86...

222

1986-87...

(to 16.2.87)

41

(ii) Veterans' Appeals (All cases)

1982-83...

N/A

1983-84...

N/A

1984-85...

27

1985-86...

230

1986-87...

(to 16.2.87)

72

(iii) Social Security (Assets Test Cases)

1982-83...

N/A

1983-84...

N/A

1984-85...

1

1985-86...

35

1986-87...

(to 16.2.87)

1

(iv) Veterans' Appeals (Assets Test Cases)

1982-83...

N/A

1983-84...

N/A

1984-85...

Nil

1985-86...

36

1986-87...

(to 16.2.87)

2

(c) Total Appeals Withdrawn

See the answers to (a) and (b) above

(7) (a) Longest Delay

(i) Department of Social Security (All cases)

Statistics are not available for each individual year. The longest individual delay on any matter to 16 February 87 was 470 days.

(ii) Department of Veterans' Affairs (All cases)

Statistics are not available for each individual year. The longest individual delay on any matter to 16 February 87 was 667 days.

(iii) Department of Social Security (Assets Test Cases)

Statistics are not available for each individual year. For applications lodged in 1986, the longest delay to 16 February 87 was 331 days.

(iv) Department of Veterans' Affairs (Assets Test Cases)

Statistics are not available for each individual year. For applications lodged in 1986, the longest delay to 16 February 87 was 300 days.

(b) Average Delay

The Tribunal does not have the information necessary to enable it to calculate the average delay in determining applications for review in each year, although some information (set out below) is held in relation to assets test cases lodged in 1986.

Cases involving medical issues are generally set down for hearing within 7 months of the date of lodgment. Other cases are generally set down for hearing within 5 months of the date of lodgment.

The actual date of hearing may be sooner or later than the listed date depending upon a range of factors including the parties' wishes.

Of the assets test cases lodged in 1986 and determined as at 16 February 1987, the Actual delays were:

Dept. of Social Security

Veterans'

Affairs

No. of days between lodgement and completion

No. of cases

No. of cases

30...

0

4

30-120...

9

1

121-240...

33

15

241-360...

9

3