Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, The Honourable Dan Tehan MP)
Notes on Clauses
Amendment (1) provides that Schedule 5A commences the day after Royal Assent.
Amendments (2) and (3) would amend items 6, (7) and 8(4) of Schedule 1 to remove subsection 155(8A) and the related application provision.
Amendment (4) omits and replaces Schedule 3 of the Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Omnibus) Bill 2017 (the Bill). New Schedule 3 provides the Minister for Veterans' Affairs with the power to enter into an "arrangement" with a foreign country for the payment of pensions and the provision of assistance and benefits to persons specified in the arrangement.
The previous Schedule 3 provided the Minister for Veterans' Affairs with the power to enter into an "agreement" with a foreign country. The use of the term "agreement" could possibly limit and restrict the nature of such an agreement and might prevent the Minister from entering into an instrument of less than treaty status such as a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or some other arrangement.
On the basis that some of the potential arrangements may involve only a few persons and be restricted to the provision of treatment some flexibility is required for the form and type of arrangement that may be entered into under new section 203 of the VEA.
Amendment (5) would amend the definition of "concessional beneficiary" in subparagraph 84(1)(c)(ii) of the National Health Act 1953 by referring to a person who is eligible for fringe benefits under section 53A of the VEA.
This ensures that a person who is eligible for fringe benefits under section 53A of the VEA comes within the definition of a concessional beneficiary and therefore is eligible for discounted pharmaceuticals as a holder of a Pensioner Concession Card.
Amendment (6) would amend proposed section 437A of the MRCA so that, instead of the Minister for Veterans' Affairs being able to delegate any of his or her functions or powers under the MRCA to "a person appointed or engaged under the Public Service Act 1999," the Minister would only be able to delegate any of his or her functions or powers to "an SES employee, or acting SES employee, in the Department."
This amendment would ensure that the ability of the Minister for Veterans' Affairs to delegate his or her functions and powers under the MRCA is appropriately limited to very senior staff within the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
Amendments (7), (8), (9) and (10) would update the name of an Act from the Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests (Treatment) Act 2006 to the Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests and British Commonwealth Occupation Force (Treatment) Act 2006.
The name was amended by the Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Budget Measures) Act 2017. That Act amended the Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests (Treatment) Act 2006 to provide people already covered under that Act, British Nuclear Test Participants, as well as Australian veterans of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force and civilians present at a nuclear test area during a relevant period with full health coverage for all conditions.