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

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What is the CDDA Scheme?

In cases where it has been established that there is no legal liability to pay compensation, the CDDA Scheme provides a mechanism for non-corporate Commonwealth entities (NCEs) to compensate persons who have experienced detriment as a result of a NCE’s defective actions or inaction.

The CDDA Scheme is available to provide a remedy for all NCEs under the PGPA Act, with the exception of the Departments of Parliament

The CDDA Scheme is discretionary as well as permissive. It does not oblige the decision-maker to approve a payment in any particular case.

Claims under the CDDA Scheme are managed and investigated by the NCE which is alleged to have been defective. The Department of Finance only provides policy advice on the CDDA Scheme.

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.

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 NCE 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.

That a mistake has been made by an entity or an official of an entity does not automatically mean compensation is payable under the CDDA Scheme.

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 the 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. There is no guarantee of a favourable outcome.

How do I apply?

Claims are made in writing to the NCE to which your compensation claim relates.

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 NCE, medical certificates etc. Please send all information to the NCE.

Contact details for large NCEs are listed below on the following page.

Further information

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

Commonwealth Ombudsman
GPO Box 442

1300 362 072 External Site

If you have a complaint about a Commonwealth entity in regard to the CDDA Scheme, or you are dissatisfied with a NCE’s decision under the CDDA Scheme, you should contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Department of Finance does not review decisions made under the CDDA Scheme.


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Contact details for other NCEs

Commonwealth entityAddressPhone
Australian Federal Police Professional Standards Operations Monitoring Centre
PO Box 401
(02) 6131 6789
Australian Taxation Office ATO General Counsel
PO Box 900
1800 005 172
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Discretionary Compensation Claims
Office of the General Counsel
GPO Box 858
1800 900 090
Department of Defence

Defence Legal—DSFC
PO Box 7911

1300 333 362
Department of Education and Training

GPO Box 9880

1300 566 046 


Department of Health GPO Box 9848
1800 020 103
Department of Human Services
(Child Support, Centrelink and Medicare)

Customer CompensationTeam
Department of Human Services
Reply Paid 7788

1800 995 496

Department of Home Affairs

Civil Litigation and Compensation Section
PO Box 25
Fax: 02 6264 1401

02 6264 4189

Department of Veterans' Affairs

GPO Box 9998

133 254

Last updated: 12 August 2019