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

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What is the CDDA Scheme?

The CDDA Scheme allows Government agencies to compensate persons who have experienced detriment as a result of an agency’s defective actions or inaction.

The CDDA Scheme is available to provide a remedy for all Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 agencies.

Payments made under the CDDA Scheme are discretionary. This means there is no automatic entitlement to a payment.

Who has the authority to make decisions?

The CDDA Scheme is an administrative, not a statutory (legislative) scheme. It has been established under the executive power of section 61 of the Constitution.

Portfolio Ministers have responsibility for decisions made under the CDDA Scheme. Ministers may also authorise departmental officers to make decisions.

The Department of Finance only provides policy advice on the CDDA Scheme.

When are compensation payments made?

Payments made under the CDDA Scheme are discretionary. This means there is no automatic entitlement to a payment.

Payments may be made by the relevant portfolio Minister or authorised officer if a Government officer or agency has directly caused an applicant to experience detriment as a result of defective administration.

The CDDA Scheme is generally an avenue of last resort and is used only where there is no other viable avenue to provide redress.

What is defective administration?

Defective administration is defined as:

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

What is detriment?

Detriment means quantifiable financial loss that an applicant has suffered.

There are three types of detriment:

  • detriment relating to a personal injury including mental injury (personal injury loss);
  • economic detriment that is not related to a personal injury (pure economic loss); and
  • detriment relating to damage to property.

Who can apply for compensation?

Any individual, company or other organisation can apply for compensation, either for themselves or for an authorised third party.

How do I apply?

Claims are made in writing to the Australian Government agency to which your compensation claim relates. Contact details for large agencies are listed below on the following page.

Your application should address:

  • the criteria for determining defective administration;
  • explain how the actions or inactions were defective;
  • provide details of the detriment being claimed, including an explanation of how the amount claimed is calculated; and
  • explain how the defective administration directly caused the loss.

Please include all relevant evidence in support of your application e.g. correspondence between yourself and the relevant Government agency, medical certificates etc.

Further information

More detailed information on the CDDA Scheme can be found in Attachment A of Finance Circular 2009/09, Discretionary Compensation and Waiver of Debt Mechanisms.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman has produced a factsheet on the CDDA Scheme. You can contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman on the following details:

Phone: 1300 362 072
Postal: Commonwealth Ombudsman
GPO Box 442
Website: External Site

Contact details for other agencies

Agency Address Phone

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service External Site

Complaints and Compliments Management Unit
Reply Paid 86251
1800 228 227
Australian Federal Police External Site Professional Standards Operations Monitoring Centre
PO Box 401
(02) 6131 6789
Australian Taxation Office External Site ATO General Counsel
PO Box 900
1800 005 172
Department of Agriculture External Site GPO Box 858
(02) 6272 3933
Department of Defence External Site Defence Legal—DSFC
PO Box 7911
1300 333 362
Department of Health External Site GPO Box 9848
1800 020 103
Department of Human Services
(including Child Support,
Centrelink and Medicare)
External Site
Child Support
Attention: Child Support Compensation Team
Department of Human Services
GPO Box 9815
Melbourne Vic 3001
1800 247 302

  Centrelink and Medicare Your local Centrelink or Medicare shopfront 1800 995 496
Department of Immigration and Border Protection External Site Director, Civil Litigation and Compensation Section
PO Box 25
02 6264 4189

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The Commonwealth Ombudsman has produced a factsheet on the CDDA Scheme  [External Site PDF].