Application process

How do I make request consideration?

You can request consideration by completing the form below and submitting it via SFC@finance.gov.au or by mail to:

Discretionary Financial Assistance
Risk and Claims Branch
Department of Finance
One Canberra Avenue
FORREST ACT 2603

Act of grace mechanism:

Waiver of debt mechanism:

If you wish to have a copy of the form emailed or mailed directly to you, you can make a request via SFC@finance.gov.au or by phone on 1800 227 572.

What happens after I request consideration of an act of grace or a waiver of debt?

A decision may be made on the basis of the information you have submitted. If you request consideration and Finance does not consider that it is appropriate for us to consider it, we will contact you and explain why.

If it is appropriate to consider your request, Finance may ask all relevant Commonwealth entities to provide a submission on your application.

Once the Non-Corporate Commonwealth entities provide Finance with a submission relating to your application, we will follow the procedural fairness principles outlined in RMG 401. This generally means you will have the opportunity to comment on any adverse information or inference.

If your request for consideration is not approved, you will be provided with a statement of reasons for that decision.

How long does it take to consider an application?

There are no time limits for making a decision on an application.

Finance will endeavour to progress your application in a timely manner. However, gathering all the relevant information can be a lengthy process.

Decisions will generally take longer if they relate to complex and/or sensitive matters or if correspondence is by post alone.

Authorised Representation

Power of attorney or other instrument of authorisation

If you are acting as a representative of an individual, partnership or organisation you will be required to provide an instrument of authorisation when submitting your request for consideration.

How do I appoint someone to act on my behalf?

If you wish to appoint an authorised representative to act on your behalf, and do not have a power of attorney or other instrument of authorisation, please complete the Appoint Authorised Representative section of your request for consideration.

What can I do if I disagree with the outcome of my application?

Apply for reconsideration

Finance will generally only agree to reconsider a decision if:

  • The decision maker has made a serious material error about the facts of your matter, and/or
  • You provide relevant and significant new evidence that was not previously considered.

When applying for reconsideration, you should clearly identify the aspects of the decision that you disagree with, any mistakes that you consider have been made and any relevant and significant new information you have not previously submitted. You will also need to explain how the new information affects the decision that has been made.

It is not necessary to set out facts, claims and evidence previously provided.

If Finance deems a reconsideration is warranted, we will appoint a different decision maker to consider your application.

Requests for reconsideration must be done in writing and can be submitted by email to SFC@finance.gov.au or by mail to:

Discretionary Financial Assistance
Risk and Claims Branch
Department of Finance
One Canberra Avenue
FORREST ACT 2603

Ask the Commonwealth Ombudsman to investigate

If you disagree with the way that Finance handled your application, you can ask the Commonwealth Ombudsman to investigate it. Investigations are independent, informal, private and free.

Please note, the Commonwealth Ombudsman cannot investigate actions or decisions made by a Minister personally.

If the Commonwealth Ombudsman decides to investigate, you will receive advice about the outcome of the investigation. The Commonwealth Ombudsman may make a recommendation to Finance for the matter to be considered again, but cannot change the original decision.

Ask for a judicial review

A decision about an act of grace payment or waiver of debt can be reviewed by the Federal Circuit Court and the Federal Court under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (ADJR Act). Grounds for review include a breach of the rules of procedural fairness or an error of law.

The Court can set aside the decision and instruct the Minister or Finance to look at the matter again. However, the Court cannot review the merits of the decision. The Court also cannot instruct the Minister or Finance to approve an application for an act of grace payment or waiver of debt. The Minister or other decision maker may still decide not to approve an application. If your application for judicial review is unsuccessful, you may be ordered to pay costs.

The ADJR Act sets out time limits and fees on applications for judicial review. You can find out more information about your options at the Federal Court's website. If you are considering judicial review, it is recommended that you seek independent legal advice.

Statement of reasons

A statement of reasons includes details about the reasons for the decision and the facts and evidence used in making the decision. You will require a statement of reasons to apply for a judicial review under the ADJR Act.

The decision letter you will receive from Finance constitutes a statement of reasons in accordance with the ADJR Act and meets the requirements for an originating application for judicial review in the Federal Court.

If you disagree with the reasons provided in the decision letter, you may apply to  Finance to reconsider your application without the need to refer the matter to the Federal Court.


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