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House of Representatives

Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Coronavirus and Other Measures) Bill 2020

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by the authority of the Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston)

OUTLINE

This Bill will:

·
provide for the payment of two Further Economic Support Payments of $250 to around five million social security and veterans' payment recipients and concession cardholders in the lead up to Christmas and in the new year as part of the Australian Government's economic response to COVID-19 (Schedule 1);
·
temporarily amend the circumstances in which a person may be regarded as independent for youth allowance purposes, to assist young people to qualify for youth allowance who would have qualified if they had not lost, or been unable to attain, employment because of the economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic (Schedule 2);
·
create a temporary pathway for young people who are seeking to qualify as independent for the purposes of assessing Youth Allowance (student) to encourage young Australians to undertake seasonal agricultural work to help address concerns across the agriculture sector about immediate workforce availability for the upcoming harvest season (Schedule 3);
·
introduce a revised Paid Parental Leave work test period for a limited time, to enable people to access parental leave pay and dad and partner pay who do not meet the current work test provisions because their employment has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (Schedule 4);
·
improve assistance for families affected by stillbirth and infant death in respect of payments for newborn children, by increasing the maximum amount that eligible families are able to access after a stillbirth or a child's death up to the child's first birthday. The proposal will also remove discrepancies within the payments system in respect of multiple instances of stillbirth or infant death within the same family (Schedule 5); and
·
allow the Minister to determine average weekly earnings trend figures ordinarily published by the Australian Statistician, for child support assessment purposes, where publication of trend estimates for the Average Weekly Earnings series has been suspended, for example due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labour market (Schedule 6).

Financial impact statement

MEASURE FINANCIAL IMPACT OVER THE FORWARD ESTIMATES
Schedule 1 $2.6 billion
Schedule 2 $25 million
Schedule 3 $16.3 million
Schedule 4 $130.4 million for the Paid Parental Leave Program ($90.3 million whole-of-government financial impact over the forward estimates)
Schedule 5 $7.6 million
Schedule 6 NIL

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

The statement of compatibility with human rights appears at the end of this explanatory memorandum.


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