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

The Scheme for Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration (CDDA Scheme) provides a mechanism for a Non-Corporate Commonwealth Entity (NCE) to compensate people who have experienced detriment as a result of the NCE’s defective administration.

If you are seeking compensation for detriment caused by defective administration, please contact the relevant NCE and ask if your matter can be considered under the CDDA Scheme.

Please note that the NCEs listed as 'Parliamentary Departments' on the Flipchart of Commonwealth entities and companies are exempt from the CDDA scheme.

If other avenues exist to remedy the defective administration (such as existing Commonwealth legislation or schemes), those options must be explored before applying for CDDA consideration.

The CDDA scheme is discretionary. Regardless of your circumstances, there is no requirement for a decision maker to approve your application.

Before submitting an application for consideration of Compensation for Detriment caused by Defective Administration, you should consider the information provided below and in Resource Management Guide 409.

Independent Review of the CDDA in relation to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and Small Business

What is defective administration?

Defective administration may have occurred if a mistake has been made by a NCE or an official of a NCE.

Examples of defective administration include, but is not limited to:

  • the NCE did not comply with existing administrative procedures
  • the NCE failed to institute appropriate administrative procedures
  • the NCE failed to give proper advice that was within their power to give
  • the NCE failed to give proper advice that they were reasonably capable of obtaining
  • the NCE gave advice that was, in all the circumstances, incorrect or ambiguous.

Compensation is not always payable under the CDDA Scheme even when defective administration has occurred, as there are a number of other criteria that must be satisfied.

What is detriment?

If there has been defective administration, you must demonstrate the direct loss – or detriment – you have 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)
  • detriment relating to damage to property.

Generally, if you apply for compensation under the CDDA scheme, the NCE will require you to provide:

  • a calculation of the amount you are claiming
  • an explanation of how the amount was calculated
  • the steps you have taken to minimise and/or contain the loss.

The decision maker may make whatever assumptions are necessary and reasonable if you do not provide this information.

Who decides whether to approve a CDDA application?

The CDDA scheme was 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 delegate this power to decision makers within an NCE.

Please refer to the Flipchart of Commonwealth entities and companies for information regarding portfolios.

How do I apply?

You should lodge a claim with the NCE to which your compensation claim relates. Please contact the NCE directly to discuss how to apply and what documentation will be required.

If you wish to lodge a CDDA claim against Finance, please email

In your email, you will need to:

  • describe the alleged 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 detriment.

You should also include relevant evidence in support of your application. This could include correspondence between yourself and the relevant NCE, medical certificates, receipts etc.

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

Please note the Department of Finance does not review decisions made under the CDDA Scheme.

You may be able to ask the NCE to reconsider their CDDA decision, alternatively you can seek review from the Commonwealth Ombudsman. Please refer to the Commonwealth Ombudsman for assistance in lodging a complaint regarding the CDDA scheme for all NCE’s except the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). For claims relating to the ATO, please contact the Inspector General of Taxation

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