The membership of the SSAT comprises the Principal Member, Senior Members and full and part-time members. All members are appointed by the Governor-General.
The Principal Member of the SSAT is supported by staff and members located in registries (offices) around Australia (in all capital cities except Canberra and Darwin), as well as in the National Office (Melbourne).
All staff in the local SSAT registries and National Office are public servants employed under the Public Service Act 1999.
The Principal Member is directly responsible under the Administration Act to the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs for the overall operation and administration of the SSAT. Appointed for a period of up to five years, the Principal Member is required to take reasonable steps to ensure that the decisions of the Tribunal are consistent and that its functions are performed efficiently and effectively.
As a member of the Tribunal, the Principal Member sits from time to time on hearings.
A Registrar assists the Principal Member with the Australia-wide Tribunal operations.
The Senior Members are accountable to the Principal Member for the performance of members and the day-to-day conduct of the business of the SSAT in their geographical areas.
Senior Members are appointed for periods of up to five years. There are currently full-time Senior Members in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. The Senior Member in Sydney is also responsible for the Australian Capital Territory, the Senior Member in Melbourne for Tasmania and the Brisbane Senior Member for the Northern Territory.
Senior Members are responsible for ensuring that Tribunal panels follow national procedures and for monitoring the quality and consistency of decisions in their area. They report to the Principal Member on such matters as anomalies in the legislation or problems/hardships caused by its administration, jurisdictional problems, trends emerging from review cases and other issues such as lack of consistency in particular areas of decision-making.
As members of the SSAT, Senior Members conduct hearings. They also participate in the national management process, principally as members of the Executive Advisory Group comprising the Principal Member, Senior Members and the Registrar.
Hearings of the SSAT are conducted by both full and part-time members. Members are appointed by the Governor-General for a period of up to five years, on the basis of their specialist knowledge, communication skills, knowledge of the social security system or the child support scheme and their understanding of, and commitment to, the principles of administrative review.
The role of each member is to bring the benefit of their particular expertise and qualifications to the responsibility of deciding each appeal on its merits.
The membership is drawn from a wide range of expertise: members' backgrounds include public administration, law, accounting, medicine and social welfare.
Local SSAT registries (offices) are responsible for managing, co-ordinating and supporting members in conducting the SSAT's day-to-day business of processing, hearing and deciding reviews. The SSAT has a registry in the capital city of every state. Australian Capital Territory reviews are heard in Canberra but are managed by the SSAT's New South Wales registry. Northern Territory reviews are heard in the Territory but are managed by the SSAT's Queensland registry.
For reasons of efficient administration, the administrative area covered by each SSAT registry does not necessarily follow State/Territory borders.
The Registrar is responsible to the Principal Member for the management of the National Office, including the provision of support services (corporate, information technology, legal research and financial management) to the local SSAT registries and all staff.
The National Office of the SSAT is located In Melbourne. Staff in the National Office assist the Principal Member in meeting his/her statutory responsibilities to:
Under the direction of the Registrar, the National Office supports the local SSAT registries and undertakes appropriate research and management/monitoring activities. The four major business units of the National Office are categorised as Finance, Information Technology, Member Support and Quality Analysis and Corporate Operations.
The National Office is not involved in processing, hearing or deciding applications for review.
If you would like more information about the SSAT, please contact the registry (office) nearest you.
The SSAT registry in Adelaide covers South Australia and the Broken Hill area of New South Wales.
The SSAT registry in Brisbane covers Queensland, the Northern Territory, the Kimberley area of Western Australia and north-east coastal New South Wales (including the area around Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Ballina).
The SSAT registry in Hobart covers Tasmania and most overseas Centrelink and Child Support applications for review.
The SSAT registry in Melbourne covers Victoria, except Wodonga.
The SSAT registry in Perth covers Western Australia.
The SSAT registry in Sydney covers the Australian Capital Territory, Wodonga in Victoria. New South Wales, except the north-east coastal New South Wales.