About Us

Claiming compensation from us

If the Department has made an error that has caused you a financial loss or some other detriment, you might be able to make a claim for compensation.

Types of compensation

Compensation can be claimed for loss suffered as a result of one of the following:

  • legal liability
  • defective administration
  • special circumstance arising out of Commonwealth administration.

If you are making a complaint or seeking compensation from the Department regarding the importation and/or exportation of goods, please complete the online feedback form. All claims must initially be made using this form.

Compensation for legal liability

We might assess your claim and pay compensation in accordance with the Legal Services Directions 2017, where there is a meaningful prospect that we could be found liable to pay compensation if the matter went to court.

It is open to you to seek independent legal advice if you think that your circumstances might give rise to a claim that raises issues of potential legal liability.

Scheme for Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (the CDDA Scheme)

The CDDA Scheme allows us to compensate you if you have been adversely affected by defective administration on the part of the Department and where no legal liability exists. Payments made under the CDDA Scheme are discretionary and can be made where it is considered fair and reasonable to do so where there is no other redress available.

Compensation is not payable for grief, anxiety, hurt, humiliation, embarrassment, or disappointment that is unrelated to personal injury, no matter how intense the emotion might be.

In order for your claim to be successful under the CDDA Scheme, the decision maker must be satisfied that:

  • there was defective administration by us;
  • the loss or detriment suffered was a direct result of our defective administration and this can be substantiated by you;
  • the type of detriment suffered by you must have been reasonably foreseeable by us.

Defective administration is defined as any of the following:

  • a specific and unreasonable lapse in complying with existing administrative procedures;
  • an unreasonable failure to institute appropriate administrative procedures;
  • giving advice to (or for) an applicant that was, in all the circumstances, incorrect or ambiguous;
  • an unreasonable failure to give to (or for) an applicant, the proper advice that was within the official's power and knowledge to give (or reasonably capable of being obtained by the official to give).

The overarching principle of the CDDA Scheme is to restore you to the position you would have been in had the defective administration not occurred.

Act of Grace payment

Act of Grace is administered by the Department of Finance. If the Finance Minister or delegate considers it appropriate to do so because of special circumstances, the Finance Minister or delegate can authorise an Act of Grace payment. Act of Grace claims are considered on their individual merits. Payments made under Act of Grace are discretionary and can be made where it is considered fair and reasonable to do so and there is no other redress available. This includes any of the following:

  • our direct role has caused an unintended and inequitable result for the individual or entity concerned;
  • the application of our legislation has produced a result that is unintended, anomalous, inequitable or otherwise unacceptable in a particular case (including in cases where we have acted correctly in administrating the legislation involved); or
  • the matter is not covered by legislation or specific policy, but we intend to introduce such legislation or policy, and it is considered desirable in a particular case to apply the benefits of the relevant provisions prospectively.

Applying for compensation

You can send the completed application form and supporting documentation by post, email or fax.

Civil Litigation and Compensation Section
Department of Home Affairs
PO Box 25
Belconnen ACT 2616

Email: compensationclaims@homeaffairs.gov.au
Fax: 02 6264 1401

You will receive an acknowledgement letter from us within seven working days of receipt of your claim. Claims are processed in order of receipt. We cannot provide a definite date for completion of claims; however, you will be kept informed of the progress of your claim.

In some circumstances, we, or the Commonwealth Ombudsman might invite you to apply for compensation under either the CDDA Scheme or Act of Grace.

An invitation to apply for compensation does not constitute an admission of liability, nor does it guarantee that compensation will be paid.

Receiving a decision

You will be notified in writing of the outcome of your claim. 

Further assistance

For further information about the CDDA Scheme please see the Requests for discretionary financial assistance under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (185KB PDF).

For further information about the Act of Grace mechanism please see the Requests for discretionary financial assistance under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (185KB PDF).