Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education, Science and Training the Hon Julie Bishop MP)
Social Security Legislation Amendment (2007 Budget Measures for Students) Bill 2007
The Social Security Legislation Amendment (2007 Budget Measures for Students) Bill 2007 amends the Student Assistance Act 1973 and the Social Security Act 1991 to give effect to measures announced in the 2007-08 Budget that concern the income support for students programmes and updates aspects of the administration of ABSTUDY and the Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) schemes, in line with similar provisions under the Social Security Act 1991 .
Amendments to the Student Assistance Act 1973 provide legislative support for the provision of services to ABSTUDY and AIC.
The first amendment aims to simplify the processes currently used by the Australian Government (as represented by Centrelink) to recover payment(s) made under the ABSTUDY and AIC schemes that have been deposited into an incorrect financial institution account. This is consistent with the provisions of the Social Security Act 1991 .
The second amendment will allow notices issued under section(s) 343, 344 or 345 to be issued electronically. This amendment is required to incorporate current technologies and data transfer processes used by Centrelink for other student income support payments into the administration of the ABSTUDY and AIC schemes.
Amendments to the Social Security Act 1991 insert a new category of Level of Course to the levels of eligible study, which specifies Masters degrees as eligible courses. From 1 January 2008, students enrolled in an approved Masters by course-work programme, which is required for entry to a profession or is the fastest pathway to professional entry, will be eligible for Youth Allowance and Austudy payments. This provision will also extend support to students enrolled in a Masters course-work programme where a university has diversified by restructuring its course delivery.
To maintain consistency with student income support policy, as defined by the Act, and the new amendments which extends income support to Masters courses, an additional amendment is required to remove the current restriction on the provision of income support to students who have already attained a Masters degree. This amendment has no effect on the existing allowable time and progress rules, which are maintained. It also does not apply to students who have attained a doctorate.
From 1 January 2008, Indigenous students in receipt of the ABSTUDY Living Allowance will be able to access Crisis payment under the ABSTUDY Scheme. Amendments to the Social Security Act 1991 will clarify that a social security Crisis payment is not payable if the person is qualified for an ABSTUDY Crisis Payment in respect of the same circumstance.
The amendments also attach Rent Assistance payments to the Austudy payment to increase the support for mature age people to participate in education. From 1 January 2008, students aged 25 years and over who receive Austudy will be able, if eligible, to receive assistance with their rental accommodation expenses.
|2007 - 2008||$13.2 m|
|2008 - 2009||$24.0 m|
|2009 - 2010||$24.5 m|
|2010 - 2011||$25.1 m|
|2007 - 2008||$5.5 m|
|2008 - 2009||$11.2 m|
|2009 - 2010||$12.5 m|
|2010 - 2011||$14.1 m|
NOTES ON CLAUSES
Clause 1 - Short title
Provides for the Act to be cited as the Social Security Legislation Amendment (2007 Budget Measures for Students) Act 2007 .
Clause 2 - Commencement
Subclause 2(1) inserts a three column table setting out commencement information for various provisions in the Act. Each provision of the Act specified in column 1 of the table commences (or is taken to have commenced) in accordance with column 2 of the table and any other statement in column 2 has effect according to its terms.
The table has the effect of providing for items 1 to 11 of Schedule 2 to commence on 1 January 2008, for item 12 of Schedule 2 to commence immediately after the commencement of Schedule 3 to the Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Legislation Amendment (Further 2007 Budget Measures) Act 2007 and for sections 1-3, Schedule 1 and items 13 to 18 of Schedule 2 of the Act to commence on Royal Assent.
Subclause 2(2) provides that column 3 of the table is for additional information which may be added to or edited in any published version of the Act but that information in this column is not part of the Act.
Clause 3 - Schedule(s)
Provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule and that any other item in a Schedule has effect according to its terms.