Revised Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by the authority of the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Christian Porter MP)
The Bill introduces the following measures:
- Creation of the Jobseeker Payment
- Cessation Widow B Pension
- Cessation of Wife Pension
- Cessation of Bereavement Allowance
- Cessation of Sickness Allowance
- Cessation of Widow Allowance
- Cessation of Partner Allowance
- Minister's Rules (safety net for transitional arrangements)
- Relief from activity test for persons aged 55 to 59
- Start date for some participation payments
- Removal of Intent to Claim provisions
- Establishment of a drug testing trial
- Removal of exemptions for drug or alcohol dependence
- Changes to reasonable excuses
- Targeted Compliance Framework
- Streamlining Tax File Number collection
- Information Management (Streamline Prosecution Referrals)
- Aligning Social Security and Disability Discrimination Law
Schedule 1 - Creation of the Jobseeker Payment
From 20 March 2020, this Bill introduces a single Jobseeker Payment, to replace seven existing payments as the main payment for people of working age.
Schedule 2 - Cessation Widow B Pension
This Schedule ceases Widow B Pension from 20 March 2020.
Schedule 3 - Cessation Wife Pension
This Schedule ceases Wife Pension from 20 March 2020.
Schedule 4 - Cessation of Bereavement Allowance
This Schedule ceases Bereavement Allowance from 20 March 2020.
Schedule 5 - Cessation of Sickness Allowance
This Schedule ceases Sickness Allowance from 20 March 2020.
Schedule 6 - Cessation of Widow Allowance
Under this Schedule Widow Allowance will close to new entrants from 1 January 2018 and will cease on 1 January 2022, when all recipients have moved to Age Pension.
Schedule 7 - Cessation of Partner Allowance
This Schedule ceases Partner Allowance from 1 January 2022.
Schedule 8 - Minister's Rules (safety net for transitional arrangements)
This Schedule will allow the Minister to make rules, by legislative instrument, of a transitional nature in relation to the amendments and repeals made by Schedules 1 to 7 to this Bill from the day after this Act receives the Royal Assent.
Schedule 9 - Relief from activity test for persons aged 55 to 59
This Schedule strengthens the employment focus of mutual obligations for job seekers aged 55 to 59 from 20 September 2018.
Schedule 10 - Start date for some participation payments
This embeds a stronger work focus in the existing RapidConnect arrangements by encouraging job seekers to connect more quickly with employment services from 1 January 2018.
Schedule 11 - Removal of Intent to Claim provisions
From 1 January 2018, this Schedule removes intent to claim provisions, which will result in social security claimants receiving payments from the date they lodge a complete claim.
Schedule 12 - Establishment of a drug testing trial
From 1 January 2018, this Schedule provides for the trialling of a new approach to identifying job seekers with substance abuse issues by drug testing 5000 new recipients of Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance (other) in three locations over two years.
Schedule 13 - Removal of exemptions for drug or alcohol dependence
This Schedule ensures that job seekers whose substance abuse prevents them from looking for work remain actively engaged in appropriate activities, including treatment, rather than being exempt from all requirements from 1 January 2018.
Schedule 14 - Changes to reasonable excuses
From 1 January 2018, this Schedule changes the reasonable excuse rules to ensure that job seekers are not able to keep using drug or alcohol dependency as an excuse for failing to meet their requirements rather than seeking treatment.
Schedule 15 - Targeted Compliance Framework
This Schedule establishes a new, targeted compliance system that strengthens penalties for deliberate non-compliance while providing additional help for genuine job seekers to meet their requirements from 1 July 2018.
Schedule 16 - Streamlining Tax File Number collection
This Schedule streamlines legislation enabling the Department of Human Services to require applicants to provide their Tax File Number at the time of a claim from 1 January 2018.
Schedule 17 - Information Management (Streamline Prosecution Referrals)
This Schedule simplifies the process for referrals of welfare fraud prosecution by allowing information and documents obtained in the course of an administrative action by the Department of Human Services to be used in subsequent investigations and criminal proceedings starting from 1 January 2018.
Schedule 18 - Aligning Social Security and Disability Discrimination Law
This Schedule streamlines the treatment of Social Security Law under the Disability Discrimination Act by including the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 and the Social Security (International Agreements) Act 1999, and legislative instruments made under the Social Security Act 1991 and the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 in the list of exempt legislation for the Disability Discrimination Act from Royal Assent.
FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT
The measures in this Bill have the following estimated impact on the fiscal balance over the forward estimates to 2020-21 ($ million):
|MEASURE||FINANCIAL IMPACT OVER THE FORWARD ESTIMATES|
|Schedule 1 - Creation of the Jobseeker Payment||Expense of $11.6 million|
|Schedule 2 - Cessation Widow B Pension||Expense of $0.1 million|
|Schedule 3 - Cessation Wife Pension||Expense of $6.3 million|
|Schedule 4 - Cessation of Bereavement Allowance||Savings of $1.04 million|
|Schedule 5 - Cessation of Sickness Allowance||Savings of $6.9 million|
|Schedule 6 - Cessation of Widow Allowance||Expense of $4.5 million|
|Schedule 7 - Cessation of Partner Allowance||Expense of $1.08 million|
|Schedule 8 - Minister's Rules (safety net for transitional arrangements)||Nil|
|Schedule 9 - Relief from activity test for persons aged 55 to 59||Expense of $47.8 million*|
|Schedule 10 - Start date for some participation payments||Savings of $198.0 million|
|Schedule 11 - Removal of Intent to Claim provisions||Savings of $68.0 million|
|Schedule 12 - Establishment of a drug testing trial||Not for publication|
|Schedule 13 - Removal of exemptions for drug or alcohol dependence||Expense of $28.8 million|
|Schedule 14 - Changes to reasonable excuses||Expense of $4.3 million|
|Schedule 15 - Targeted Compliance Framework||Savings of $204.7 million|
|Schedule 16 - Streamlining Tax File Number collection||Expense of $5.5 million|
|Schedule 17 - Information Management (Streamline Prosecution Referrals)||Nil|
|Schedule 18 - Aligning Social Security and Disability Discrimination Law||Nil|
* Note: this cost covers strengthening requirements for three cohorts by age. This legislative amendment only relates to one of the three groups. A breakdown per group is not available.
STATEMENTS OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS
The Statements of Compatibility with Human Rights appears at the end of this explanatory memorandum.