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Home > Media > RCOA welcomes abolition of AAT and IAA

RCOA welcomes abolition of AAT and IAA

The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) has welcomed the passage of legislation to replace the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and the Immigration Assessment Authority (IAA) with a new tribunal.  

The Australian Parliament passed the Administrative Review Tribunal Bill this week, marking a significant step towards improving fairness and transparency in Australia’s immigration and refugee assessment processes.  

The AAT and the IAA were widely regarded as unfair for refugee applicants due to several procedural flaws. These bodies often failed to provide adequate procedural fairness, including limited opportunities for applicants to present their cases fully and a lack of proper consideration of new evidence.  

The IAA, in particular, operated under the fast-track assessment process, which severely restricted the ability of applicants to appeal decisions or address errors and omissions in their initial claims.  

The AAT was criticised for its lack of a merit-based appointment process, inconsistent decision-making and lengthy delays, which added to the uncertainty and distress experienced by people seeking asylum. These systemic issues undermined the integrity of the decision-making process, leading to unjust outcomes for many vulnerable individuals seeking asylum. 

RCOA CEO Paul Power said the establishment of the new Administrative Review Tribunal (ART) is a promising development. 

“We commend the Government for recognising the need for a more just and equitable system,” Mr Power said. “However, RCOA remains concerned that many of the procedural elements that undermined fairness in the AAT will continue in the ART. 

“We strongly urge the Government follow the recommendations of the recent Parliamentary Committee to refer these matters to the re-established Administrative Review Council (ARC). Ensuring the ARC’s inquiry into migration and refugee procedures is essential to rectifying the issues that have historically plagued the AAT and IAA. 

“While the creation of the ART is a positive change, it is crucial that we do not replicate the flaws of the past. Procedural fairness must be at the forefront of this new tribunal’s operations.  

“RCOA remains committed to advocating for the rights and fair treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. We will continue to monitor the implementation of the ART and work with all relevant stakeholders to promote a fair and just merits review system.” 

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