Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document

 Download WordDownload Word  Download PDFDownload PDF 


Bill home page
Table Of Contents
Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Farm Household Support Bill 2014
Go To First Hit

Part 2 Farm household allowance

Division 1 Simplified outline of this Part

7   Simplified outline of this Part

Farm household allowance is payable to certain farmers and their partners. A person must qualify for farm household allowance for the allowance to be payable. The allowance is payable for a cumulative period of up to 3 years.

To qualify for the allowance as a farmer, a person must contribute significant labour and capital to a farm enterprise that has a significant commercial purpose or character. The partner of such a person may also qualify for the allowance.

Another requirement for a person to qualify for the allowance is that the person is willing to enter into a financial improvement agreement. A financial improvement agreement sets out the activities that the person must do for the purposes of the activity test (which is a test that a person to whom the allowance is payable is generally required to satisfy). The kinds of activities that may be set out in a financial improvement agreement include receiving training or advice from an appropriately qualified person, or undertaking study.

In certain circumstances, a person may be exempt from the activity test (for example, during periods that are essential to the operation of the farm or if a person is temporarily incapacitated).

Even if a person qualifies for farm household allowance, the allowance may not be payable (such as where the value of the person’s assets exceeds a certain limit, where the person receives other support under the Social Security Act or where the person is subject to a waiting period).

Farm household allowance may continue to be payable during a person’s period of absence from Australia. (The period is generally no longer than 6 weeks.)

A person’s rate of farm household allowance depends on the age of the person. For a person who has not turned 22, the rate is worked out using the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator in the Social Security Act. Otherwise, the rate is worked out using the Benefit Rate Calculator B in that Act (which is also used to work out newstart allowance). Some modifications are made to the Calculators for the purposes of farm household allowance.

There are certain obligations imposed on a person to whom farm household allowance is payable. Farm household allowance may cease to be payable to a person who fails to comply with these obligations.

The rules dealing with how to make claims, how payments are made and review of decisions relating to farm household allowance are found in the Social Security Act and the Social Security Administration Act. (This is because Part 5 of this Act applies and modifies the Social Security Act and the Social Security Administration Act in relation to farm household allowance.)

Division 2 Basic qualifications of farmers and their partners for farm household allowance

8   Qualification of farmers for farm household allowance

                   A person is qualified for farm household allowance for a period if throughout the period:

                     (a)  the person is a farmer; and

                     (b)  the person contributes a significant part of his or her labour and capital to a farm enterprise; and

                     (c)  the farm enterprise has a significant commercial purpose or character; and

                     (d)  the land that is used for the purposes of the farm enterprise is in Australia; and

                     (e)  the person has turned 16; and

                      (f)  the person is an Australian resident, and is in Australia; and

                     (g)  either:

                              (i)  the person has indicated, in writing, that the person is willing to enter into, and comply with, a financial improvement agreement; or

                             (ii)  a financial improvement agreement is in force in relation to the person; and

                     (h)  the person’s cumulative period of farm household allowance is 3 years or less.

Note 1:       For paragraph (b), see section 11 if a person is exempt from the activity test under section 31 (temporary incapacity).

Note 2:       Paragraph (f) is subject to Division 7 (overseas portability).

Note 3:       This section is subject to section 12 (no effective control of farm enterprises).

9   Qualification of farmers’ partners for farm household allowance

                   A person is qualified for farm household allowance for a period if throughout the period:

                     (a)  the person is not qualified for farm household allowance under section 8; and

                     (b)  the person is a member of a couple; and

                     (c)  the person’s partner is a farmer; and

                     (d)  the farmer contributes a significant part of his or her labour and capital to a farm enterprise; and

                     (e)  the farm enterprise has a significant commercial purpose or character; and

                      (f)  the land that is used for the purposes of the farm enterprise is in Australia; and

                     (g)  the farmer resides in Australia; and

                     (h)  the person is an Australian resident, and is in Australia; and

                      (i)  either:

                              (i)  the person has indicated, in writing, that the person is willing to enter into, and comply with, a financial improvement agreement; or

                             (ii)  a financial improvement agreement is in force in relation to the person; and

                      (j)  the person’s cumulative period of farm household allowance is 3 years or less.

Note 1:       For paragraph (d), see section 11 if a person is exempt from the activity test under section 31 (temporary incapacity).

Note 2:       Paragraph (h) is subject to Division 7 (overseas portability).

Note 3:       This section is subject to sections 10 (grace period for farmers’ partners) and 12 (no effective control of farm enterprises).

10   Grace period for farmers’ partners

             (1)  This section applies if:

                     (a)  a person was qualified for farm household allowance under section 9 as a partner of a farmer; and

                     (b)  the person would (apart from this section) have ceased to be qualified for farm household allowance on a day (the grace period start day ) only because:

                              (i)  the person ceased to be a member of a couple on that day; or

                             (ii)  the person’s partner was in gaol or undergoing psychiatric confinement on that day, and could not contribute a significant part of his or her labour or capital to a farm enterprise as a result of the imprisonment or confinement.

             (2)  The person remains qualified under section 9 for farm household allowance for the period:

                     (a)  starting on the grace period start day; and

                     (b)  ending on the earlier of the following days:

                              (i)  the day the person otherwise ceases to be qualified for farm household allowance under that section;

                             (ii)  the day that is 14 weeks after the grace period start day.

11   Persons with temporary incapacity exemption may be taken to meet the labour requirement

                   A person who is exempt from the activity test under section 31 (temporary incapacity) for a period is taken to contribute a significant part of his or her labour to a farm enterprise during the period if the person contributed a significant part of his or her labour to the farm enterprise immediately before becoming incapacitated.

12   Persons not qualified if Secretary determines that they do not effectively control farm enterprises

             (1)  A person is not qualified, or ceases to be qualified, for farm household allowance for a period if the Secretary determines that:

                     (a)  during the period:

                              (i)  for a person who qualifies under section 8 as a farmer—the person is not effectively in control of the farm or farm enterprise in relation to which the person claims the allowance; or

                             (ii)  for a person who qualifies under section 9 as a partner of a farmer—the farmer is not effectively in control of the farm or farm enterprise in relation to which the person claims the allowance; and

                     (b)  farm household allowance should not be payable to the person for the period.

Note           Some examples of cases in which the Secretary may consider that a person is not effectively in control of a farm or farm enterprise are when a mortgagee has taken possession of a farm, when a person is a bankrupt or when an eviction notice has been served on a person in respect of a farm.

             (2)  A person may effectively be in control of a farm enterprise that is a designated private trust even if the person does not pass the control test in relation to the farm enterprise under section 1207V of the Social Security Act.

13   Determination of matters relating to qualification for farm household allowance

             (1)  The Secretary’s rules may prescribe matters the Secretary must take into account in deciding whether the requirement in paragraph 8(b) or (c), or paragraph 9(d) or (e), is met.

             (2)  To avoid doubt, the Secretary’s rules do not limit the matters the Secretary may take into account in deciding whether the requirement is met.

Division 3 Financial improvement agreements

14   Requirement to enter financial improvement agreement

             (1)  The Secretary may require a person to enter a financial improvement agreement if:

                     (a)  such an agreement is not already in force in relation to the person; and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  the person is receiving, or has made a claim for, farm household allowance; or

                             (ii)  the Department is contacted by or on behalf of the person in relation to a claim for farm household allowance.

             (2)  The Secretary may require a person to enter into another financial improvement agreement if a financial improvement agreement is already in force in relation to the person.

Note:          The earlier financial improvement agreement is cancelled in accordance with section 17.

Giving notice of requirement

             (3)  The Secretary must give a person who is required to enter a financial improvement agreement written notice of:

                     (a)  the requirement; and

                     (b)  the places and times at which the agreement is to be negotiated; and

                     (c)  the period (of not more than 28 days) within which the person must comply with the notice; and

                     (d)  a description of consequences that may apply if the person does not comply with the notice.

Note:          For the consequences that may apply if the person does not comply with the notice, see sections 71 and 72.

             (4)  The Secretary may, in writing, extend the period under paragraph (3)(c) once by no more than 28 days.

Form of financial improvement agreement

             (5)  A financial improvement agreement must be in a form approved by the Secretary.

15   Terms of financial improvement agreement

             (1)  A financial improvement agreement that is in force in relation to a person is to contain one or more terms (the requirements ) that:

                     (a)  require the person to undertake activities for the purposes of the activity test; and

                     (b)  the Secretary regards as suitable for the person.

Note:          For the activities that may be undertaken, see section 19.

             (2)  A financial improvement agreement must not contain a requirement of a kind prescribed by the Secretary’s rules for the purposes of this subsection.

             (3)  To avoid doubt, the Secretary’s rules do not limit the Secretary’s discretion to exclude other kinds of requirements from a particular financial improvement agreement under subsection (1).

Optional terms

             (4)  A financial improvement agreement may also contain one or more terms that the person may, but is not required to, comply with.

16   Approval of requirements

             (1)  The requirements in a financial improvement agreement are to be approved by the Secretary.

             (2)  In considering whether to approve the requirements in a financial improvement agreement that will be in force in relation to a person, the Secretary is to have regard to:

                     (a)  the person’s capacity to comply with the requirements; and

                     (b)  the person’s needs.

Matters to take into account in determining person’s capacity to comply with requirements

             (3)  In having regard to a person’s capacity to comply with the requirements in a financial improvement agreement, the Secretary is to take into account the following matters:

                     (a)  the person’s education, experience, skills and age;

                     (b)  the impact of any disability, illness, mental health condition or physical condition of the person on the person’s ability to participate in activities;

                     (c)  the participation opportunities available to the person;

                     (d)  the family and caring responsibilities of the person, including whether:

                              (i)  the person is a registered and active foster carer of a child; or

                             (ii)  the person is a home educator or distance educator of a child; or

                            (iii)  a child lives with the person under a family law order, or other document that is prepared or accepted by an authority of a State or Territory that has responsibility for the wellbeing of children; or

                            (iv)  there are 4 or more children (which may include secondary pupil children), and the person is the principal carer or main supporter of the children;

                     (e)  the length of travel time required to comply with the requirements;

                      (f)  the financial costs (such as travel costs) of complying with the requirements, and the person’s capacity to pay for such costs;

                     (g)  the state of the local labour market and the transport options available to the person in accessing that market;

                     (h)  any other matters that the Secretary or the person considers relevant in the circumstances.

17   Variation, cancellation and review

                   A financial improvement agreement that is in force in relation to a person:

                     (a)  may be varied (in negotiation with the person); and

                     (b)  must be cancelled by the Secretary if the person enters into another financial improvement agreement; and

                     (c)  may be reviewed from time to time by the Secretary on request or on his or her own initiative; and

                     (d)  may be cancelled by the Secretary after a review under paragraph (c).

18   Notification of circumstances preventing or affecting compliance

             (1)  A person must notify the Secretary of any circumstance preventing or affecting the person’s capacity to comply with the requirements in a financial improvement agreement that is in force in relation to a person.

Note:          For the consequences of failing to comply with this section, see sections 71 and 72.

             (2)  The person must notify the Secretary under subsection (1) within 14 days of the circumstance occurring.

             (3)  The Secretary may determine, in writing, that this section does not apply if the Secretary is satisfied that in those circumstances it would be unreasonable to expect the person to give the notification.

Division 4 The activity test

19   The activity test

Undertaking activities

             (1)  A person satisfies the activity test for a period if the person satisfies the Secretary that, throughout the period, the person is complying with requirements in the person’s financial improvement agreement for the person to undertake any of the following activities for the purposes of the activity test:

                     (a)  participating in training in accordance with section 20;

                     (b)  receiving advice in accordance with section 20;

                     (c)  undertaking study;

                     (d)  actively seeking, or being willing to undertake, paid work in Australia (other than paid work that is unsuitable to be undertaken by the person);

                     (e)  undertaking any other activity.

Note 1:       For determining whether work is unsuitable, see section 21.

Note 2:       A person may qualify for the activity supplement by undertaking activities for the purposes of the activity test (see Part 3).

Meeting prescribed conditions

             (2)  Alternatively, a person satisfies the activity test for a period if the person satisfies the Secretary that, throughout the period, the person satisfies any conditions prescribed by the Secretary’s rules for the purposes of this subsection.

20   Training and advice to be provided by appropriately qualified person

             (1)  Training must be provided by a person or body who:

                     (a)  is a registered training organisation; or

                     (b)  has been approved, in writing, by the Secretary.

             (2)  For the purposes of Part 4 of the Social Security Administration Act (as it applies because of Part 5 of this Act), a decision made under paragraph (1)(b) is taken not to be a decision under the social security law.

             (3)  Advice must be provided by a person who:

                     (a)  has a qualification:

                              (i)  in a relevant field from a tertiary institution; and

                             (ii)  that is recognised by a professional institution or body; and

                     (b)  is independent from:

                              (i)  the person (the recipient ) to whom the advice is provided; and

                             (ii)  if the recipient is a member of a couple—the partner of the recipient; and

                     (c)  does not have any right or interest in:

                              (i)  the farm; or

                             (ii)  any asset that is owned by the recipient, the partner of the recipient or the farm enterprise.

21   Determining whether work is unsuitable

             (1)  This section applies in determining whether work is unsuitable to be undertaken by a person for the purposes of paragraph 19(1)(d).

Matters to be taken into account

             (2)  The Secretary must take into account the following matters:

                     (a)  any other employment of the person that does not relate to the relevant farm;

                     (b)  the person’s education, experience, skills and age, and whether the employer for the work referred to in subsection (1) would provide training;

                     (c)  any disability, illness, mental health condition or physical condition of the person;

                     (d)  any family or caring responsibilities of the person;

                     (e)  if the person is a farmer—the workload associated with the operation of the farm;

                      (f)  any other matters that the Secretary considers relevant in the circumstances.

When work is unsuitable

             (3)  Despite subsection (2), particular paid work is unsuitable to be undertaken by a person if in the Secretary’s opinion:

                     (a)  the conditions in which the work would be performed would constitute a risk to health or safety and would contravene a law of the Commonwealth, a State or a Territory relating to occupational health and safety; or

                     (b)  the terms and conditions for the work would be less generous than the applicable statutory conditions; or

                     (c)  commuting between the person’s home and the place of work would be unreasonably difficult; or

                     (d)  the work would require enlistment in the Defence Force or the Reserves; or

                     (e)  the work would require the person to move from a home in a place to a home in another place; or

                      (f)  performing the work would jeopardise the current employment, or the employment prospects, of the person’s partner; or

                     (g)  the educational, cultural or religious background of the person makes it unreasonable for the person to perform the work; or

                     (h)  it is more appropriate for the person to participate in training, receive advice or undertake study than to perform the work; or

                      (i)  the person would suffer severe financial hardship if the person were to perform the work.

Determination of additional matters

             (4)  The Secretary’s rules may prescribe matters that the Secretary must take into account in deciding whether, for the purposes of paragraph (2)(f), particular paid work is unsuitable to be undertaken by a person.

             (5)  To avoid doubt, the Secretary’s rules do not limit the matters that the Secretary may take into account in deciding whether particular paid work is unsuitable to be undertaken by a person.

Division 5 Exemptions from the activity test

Subdivision A General exemptions determined by the Secretary

22   Determination of exemption by Secretary

             (1)  A person is exempt from the activity test for a period if the Secretary makes a determination under this Subdivision.

             (2)  The Secretary may revoke a determination under this Subdivision if the Secretary is satisfied that the grounds on which the determination was made no longer exist.

             (3)  Subsection (2) does not affect any operation that subsection 33(3) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 has in relation to a determination under this Subdivision.

23   Essential farm activities

             (1)  A farmer who qualifies for farm household allowance under section 8 is exempt from the activity test for a period if the Secretary is satisfied that requiring the farmer to satisfy the activity test during the period would prevent the farmer from undertaking activities that are essential to the operation of the farm .

             (2)  The Secretary may, in writing, determine the period during which the farmer is exempt.

             (3)  The period must not exceed 6 weeks (and must not be extended).

             (4)  The Secretary may not exempt a farmer under this section from the activity test if, during the previous 12 months, the farmer has already been exempt under this section for 2 other periods (irrespective of the length of the periods, or whether farm household allowance was payable during the periods).

24   Domestic violence etc.

             (1)  The Secretary may make a determination in relation to a person for a period if the Secretary is satisfied that:

                     (a)  the person:

                              (i)  is the principal carer of one or more children; and

                             (ii)  was subjected to domestic violence in the 26 weeks before the making of the determination; or

                     (b)  the person is the principal carer of one or more children, and there are special circumstances relating to the person’s family that make it appropriate to make the determination.

Determination of matters Secretary must take into account

             (2)  The Secretary’s rules may prescribe matters that the Secretary must take into account in deciding whether there are special circumstances relating to a person’s family that make it appropriate to make a determination.

             (3)  To avoid doubt, the Secretary’s rules do not limit the matters that the Secretary may take into account in deciding whether to make a determination under paragraph (1)(b).

Period of determination

             (4)  If a determination is made on grounds referred to in paragraph (1)(a) (or on grounds that include those grounds), the period that the Secretary determines must be 16 weeks.

             (5)  Otherwise, the period that the Secretary determines must be the lesser of:

                     (a)  the period that the Secretary considers to be appropriate; or

                     (b)  16 weeks.

             (6)  A period referred to in subsection (4) or (5) may be followed by one or more other periods (each of those other periods not exceeding 16 weeks) determined in relation to the person.

25   People with disabled children

             (1)  The Secretary may make a determination in relation to a person for a period if the Secretary is satisfied that the person is the principal carer of one or more children:

                     (a)  who have a disability, illness, mental health condition or physical condition; and

                     (b)  whose care needs are such that the person should not be required to satisfy the activity test for the period.

Period of determination

             (2)  The period that the Secretary determines must be the lesser of:

                     (a)  the period that the Secretary considers to be appropriate; or

                     (b)  12 months.

             (3)  The period determined by the Secretary in relation to a person may be followed by one or more other periods (each of those other periods not exceeding 12 months) determined in relation to the person.

26   Inclusion in prescribed class

             (1)  The Secretary may make a determination in relation to a person for a period if the Secretary is satisfied that:

                     (a)  the person is in a class of persons prescribed by the Secretary’s rules for the purposes of this subsection; and

                     (b)  the person’s circumstances are such that the person should not be required to satisfy the activity test for the period.

Period of determination

             (2)  The period that the Secretary determines must be the lesser of:

                     (a)  the period that the Secretary considers to be appropriate; or

                     (b)  12 months.

             (3)  The period determined by the Secretary in relation to a person may be followed by one or more other periods (each of those other periods not exceeding 12 months) determined in relation to the person.

27   Exemption where requirement for person to satisfy the activity test would be unreasonable

                   The Secretary may make a determination in relation to a person for a period if the Secretary is satisfied that, having regard to all the relevant factors, including the following, it would be unreasonable to expect the person to satisfy the activity test for that period:

                     (a)  the location of offices of the Department or the Human Services Department;

                     (b)  difficulties with transport and communication;

                     (c)  the educational, cultural or religious background of the person.

28   Special circumstances

             (1)  The Secretary may make a determination in relation to a person for a period if:

                     (a)  the Secretary is satisfied that special circumstances, beyond the person’s control, exist; and

                     (b)  the Secretary is satisfied that in those circumstances it would be unreasonable to expect the person to satisfy the activity test for that period.

Period of determination

             (2)  The period must not exceed 13 weeks (and must not be extended).

Subdivision B Automatic general exemptions

29   Members of Defence Reserves

                   A person is exempt from the activity test for a period if the person is attending a training camp during the period as a member of the Reserves.

30   Prenatal and postnatal exemption

             (1)  A pregnant woman is exempt from the activity test for the period that:

                     (a)  starts 6 weeks before the woman’s expected date of confinement; and

                     (b)  ends on the day the woman gives birth to the child (whether or not the child is born alive).

             (2)  If a woman gives birth to a child (whether or not the child is born alive), the woman is exempt from the activity test for the period that:

                     (a)  starts on the day she gives birth to the child; and

                     (b)  ends 6 weeks after that day.

Subdivision C People temporarily incapacitated

31   Temporarily incapacitated person exempt from the activity test

             (1)  A person is exempt from the activity test for a period if:

                     (a)  throughout the period, because of sickness or an accident, the person is incapacitated and cannot undertake any activities for the purposes of the activity test for more than 8 hours a week; and

                     (b)  in the Secretary’s opinion, no activities are of a kind that the person could be reasonably expected to undertake for the purposes of the activity test for more than 8 hours a week; and

                     (c)  the incapacity is caused wholly, or virtually wholly, by a medical condition arising from the sickness or accident; and

                     (d)  the incapacity is, or is likely to be, of a temporary nature; and

                     (e)  the person has, whether before or after the commencement of this section, given the Secretary a certificate of a medical practitioner, in a form approved by the Secretary, stating:

                              (i)  the medical practitioner’s diagnosis; and

                             (ii)  the medical practitioner’s prognosis; and

                            (iii)  that the person is incapacitated and cannot undertake any activities for the purposes of the activity test for more than 8 hours a week; and

                            (iv)  the period for which the person is incapacitated; and

                      (f)  the Secretary is satisfied that the incapacity has not been brought about with a view to obtaining an exemption from the activity test.

Note:          A person who is exempt from the activity test under this section may still be taken to contribute a significant part of his or her labour to a farm enterprise (see section 11).

Requirements for making decisions

             (2)  The Secretary must comply with any requirements prescribed by the Minister’s rules in deciding the following:

                     (a)  whether paragraph (1)(a), (c) or (d) applies to a person for a period;

                     (b)  whether, for the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), an activity is of a kind that a person could be reasonably expected to undertake.

32   Time limit for exemption—end of person’s maximum exemption period

Cessation of exemption

             (1)  A person ceases to be exempt under section 31 from the activity test if the person’s maximum exemption period ends.

Maximum exemption period

             (2)  A person’s maximum exemption period is:

                     (a)  if the person has, whether before or after the commencement of this section, given the Secretary a medical certificate for the purpose of enabling the Secretary to decide whether the person was required to satisfy the activity test—the lesser of the following periods:

                              (i)  the period stated in the certificate as the period for which the person would be incapacitated and could not undertake any activities for the purposes of the activity test for more than 8 hours a week;

                             (ii)  the period of 13 weeks that started or starts on the first day of the period so stated in the certificate; or

                     (b)  otherwise—the period of 4 weeks that started or starts on the day determined by the Secretary to have been the day on which the person’s incapacity began.

Extension of maximum exemption period

             (3)  The Secretary may extend a person’s maximum exemption period if:

                     (a)  both of the following apply:

                              (i)  the person has, whether before or after the commencement of this section, given the Secretary a certificate of a medical practitioner that states the matters listed in paragraph 31(1)(e) and is in accordance with the form approved for the purposes of that paragraph;

                             (ii)  the Secretary is satisfied that the person’s incapacity will continue after the end of the person’s maximum exemption period; or

                     (b)  both of the following apply:

                              (i)  within 14 days after the end of the person’s maximum exemption period the person gives the Secretary a certificate of a medical practitioner that states the matters listed in paragraph 31(1)(e) and is in accordance with a form approved for the purposes of that paragraph;

                             (ii)  the Secretary is satisfied that the person’s incapacity has continued after the end of the person’s maximum exemption period and that the incapacity will continue.

             (4)  The extension of the maximum exemption period under subsection (3) must not be more than the lesser of the following periods:

                     (a)  the period stated in the certificate as the period for which the person will be incapacitated;

                     (b)  13 weeks.

             (5)  The Secretary may extend a person’s maximum exemption period, by no more than 4 weeks, if:

                     (a)  all of the following apply:

                              (i)  the person gives the Secretary written evidence (other than a certificate referred to in subparagraph (3)(a)(i)) that the person’s incapacity will continue after the end of the person’s maximum exemption period;

                             (ii)  the Secretary is satisfied that the person’s circumstances make it unreasonable to expect the person to obtain a certificate referred to in subparagraph (3)(a)(i) before the end of the maximum exemption period;

                            (iii)  the Secretary is satisfied that person’s incapacity will continue after the end of the person’s maximum exemption period; or

                     (b)  all of the following apply:

                              (i)  within 14 days after the end of the person’s maximum exemption period the person gives the Secretary written evidence (other than a certificate referred to in subparagraph (3)(b)(i)) that the person’s incapacity will continue after the end of the person’s maximum exemption period;

                             (ii)  the Secretary is satisfied that the person’s circumstances make it unreasonable to expect the person to obtain a certificate referred to in subparagraph (3)(b)(i);

                            (iii)  the Secretary is satisfied that the person’s incapacity has continued after the end of the person’s maximum exemption period and that the incapacity will continue; or

                     (c)  all of the following apply:

                              (i)  the person has, whether before or after the commencement of this section, given the Secretary a certificate referred to in subparagraph (3)(a)(i) before the end of the person’s maximum exemption period;

                             (ii)  before the end of the person’s maximum exemption period, the Secretary does not satisfy himself or herself that the person’s incapacity will continue after the end of that period;

                            (iii)  the sole or dominant cause of the Secretary failing to satisfy himself or herself is an act or omission of an officer of the Department.

Division 6 Payability

Subdivision A Situations where allowance not payable (assets test)

33   Non-farm assets value limit

                   Farm household allowance is not payable to a person if the value of the person’s non-farm assets exceeds:

                     (a)  if the person is a member of a couple—the person’s assets value limit worked out under item 2 of the table in subsection 611(2) of the Social Security Act as if the family situation described in that item applied to the person; or

                     (b)  otherwise—the person’s assets value limit worked out under item 1 of that table.

34   Farm assets value limit

                   Farm household allowance is not payable to a person if the value of the person’s farm assets exceeds $2.55 million.

Note 1:       This limit is indexed annually each 1 July in line with CPI increases (see Part 5 of this Act).

Note 2:       Sections 1131 and 1132 of the Social Security Act (about accessing financial hardship rules if the assets test prevents payment of a benefit) apply to farm household allowance (see Part 5 of this Act).

35   Meaning of farm assets and non-farm assets

             (1)  A farm asset is:

                     (a)  a right or interest in land used wholly or mainly for the purposes of a farm enterprise; or

                     (b)  a right or interest in livestock, crop, plant or equipment that:

                              (i)  is produce of a farm enterprise; or

                             (ii)  is used wholly or mainly for the purposes of a farm enterprise;

                            other than any livestock, crop, plant or equipment leased out by the farm enterprise; or

                     (c)  so much of a loan to which subsection (2) applies as:

                              (i)  is used to purchase a right or interest covered by paragraph (a) or (b); and

                             (ii)  remains unpaid.

Note:          This means that liquid assets such as cash and bank deposits, and investments such as shares, cannot be farm assets.

             (2)  This subsection applies to a loan at a particular time if:

                     (a)  it was made by a beneficiary of a trust to the trustee of the trust, or by a shareholder of a company to the company; and

                     (b)  the outstanding amount of the principal of the loan exceeds, at that time, the total value of all the financial investments:

                              (i)  the trustee has in the capacity of trustee; or

                             (ii)  the company has.

             (3)  A non-farm asset is an asset other than a farm asset.

Note 1:       A farm management deposit (within the meaning of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 ) is an example of a non-farm asset.

Note 2:       The value of the person’s principal home (if any) is not counted for the purposes of this Subdivision because of Division 1 of Part 3.12 of the Social Security Act.

36   Meaning of value of assets

             (1)  For a person who is a member of a couple:

                     (a)  the value of the person’s assets includes the value of the partner’s assets; and

                     (b)  the value of the person’s assets of a particular kind includes the value of the partner’s assets of that kind.

             (2)  The value of a person’s farm assets includes so much of an amount as is, because of the ownership of a farm asset, included in the value of the person’s assets under Part 3.18 (means test treatment of private companies and trusts) of the Social Security Act (as that Part applies because of Part 5 of this Act).

             (3)  The value of a person’s non-farm assets includes so much of an amount as is, because of the ownership of a non-farm asset, included in the value of the person’s assets under Part 3.18 (means test treatment of private companies and trusts) of the Social Security Act (as that Part applies because of Part 5 of this Act).

             (4)  The value of a person’s non-farm assets includes so much of an amount as is, because of a disposal of an asset, included in the value of the person’s assets under Division 2 of Part 3.12 of the Social Security Act (as that Division applies because of Part 5 of this Act).

Note:          Division 2 of Part 3.12 of that Act includes in the value of a person’s assets an amount if an asset is destroyed, disposed of (for example, by gift) or if its value is diminished in certain ways. If the asset was a farm asset, the amount will be included in the value of the person’s non-farm assets.

Subdivision B Situations where allowance not payable (general)

37   Farm household allowance not payable if allowance rate nil

             (1)  Farm household allowance is not payable to a person if the person’s allowance rate would be nil.

             (2)  However, subsection (1) does not apply to a person if the person’s rate would be nil merely because the person has been paid an advance pharmaceutical allowance under the social security law.

38   Multiple entitlement exclusion

             (1)  This section sets out when farm household allowance is not payable to a person because the person receives another pension, benefit, supplement or allowance.

             (2)  The allowance is not payable if:

                     (a)  the person is already receiving age pension, a service pension or income support supplement; or

                     (b)  a social security pension, another social security benefit, a service pension or income support supplement becomes payable to the person.

             (3)  For the purposes of paragraph (2)(b), the allowance is not payable from (and including) the day the pension, benefit or supplement becomes payable.

Receipt of veterans benefits

             (4)  The allowance is not payable if:

                     (a)  the person is an armed services widow or armed services widower; and

                     (b)  either:

                              (i)  the person is receiving a pension under Part II or IV of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act at a rate determined under or by reference to subsection 30(1) of that Act; or

                             (ii)  the person is receiving the weekly amount mentioned in paragraph 234(1)(b) of the MRCA (including a reduced weekly amount because of a choice under section 236 of the MRCA) or has received a lump sum mentioned in subsection 236(5) of the MRCA.

             (5)  Despite subparagraph (4)(b)(i) of this section, farm household allowance is payable to the person if:

                     (a)  the person is a woman who has been receiving the pension under Part II or IV of the Veterans’ Entitlements Act continuously since before 1 November 1986; and

                     (b)  before 1 November 1986 the woman was also receiving a social security benefit.

Receipt of payments for other educational etc. schemes

             (6)  The allowance is not payable for a period if a payment has been or may be made in respect of the person for that period under:

                     (a)  a prescribed educational scheme other than the ABSTUDY Scheme; or

                     (b)  the ABSTUDY Scheme, to the extent that it applies to full-time students; or

                     (c)  the scheme to provide an allowance known as:

                              (i)  the Maintenance Allowance for Refugees; or

                             (ii)  the Adult Migrant Education Program Living Allowance; or

                            (iii)  the English as a Second Language Allowance, to the extent that it applies to full-time students.

             (7)  Despite subsection (6), the Secretary may determine that farm household allowance is payable to the person for:

                     (a)  a period before the person starts a full-time course of education; or

                     (b)  a period of 3 weeks starting on the day the person starts a full-time course of education if:

                              (i)  the person was receiving farm household allowance immediately before starting the course; and

                             (ii)  an application is made for a payment in respect of the person under the ABSTUDY Scheme.

Subdivision C Situations where allowance not payable (waiting periods)

39   Waiting periods

             (1)  Farm household allowance is not payable to a person while the person is subject to a waiting period.

             (2)  A person may be subject to the following waiting periods:

                     (a)  an ordinary waiting period (see sections 40 and 41);

                     (b)  a newly arrived resident’s waiting period (see sections 42 and 43);

                     (c)  a liquid assets test waiting period (see sections 44 and 45).

40   Ordinary waiting period

             (1)  A person is subject to an ordinary waiting period unless:

                     (a)  at some time in the 13 weeks immediately before the person’s start day, the person received an income support payment; or

                     (b)  the following conditions apply:

                              (i)  the person is a member of a couple;

                             (ii)  the person’s partner dies;

                            (iii)  immediately before the partner’s death, the person was receiving a partner allowance;

                            (iv)  the person claims a farm household allowance within the period of 4 weeks that starts on the day after the partner dies.

Note:          The Secretary may waive all or part of the waiting period (see section 46).

             (2)  However, subsection (1) does not apply to a person who:

                     (a)  is undertaking an activity prescribed by the Secretary’s rules for the purposes of this subsection; and

                     (b)  has been exempted from the application of subsection (1) by the Secretary.

41   Duration of ordinary waiting period

             (1)  A person’s ordinary waiting period is (subject to subsection (2)) 7 days starting from the person’s start day.

Note:          If the person is subject to a newly arrived resident’s waiting period, the newly arrived resident’s waiting period runs concurrently with the ordinary waiting period.

             (2)  For a person for whom farm household allowance is not payable because the person is subject to a liquid assets test waiting period, the ordinary waiting period is 7 days starting from the day after the end of the liquid assets test waiting period.

42   Newly arrived resident’s waiting period

             (1)  A person is (subject to subsection (2)) subject to a newly arrived resident’s waiting period if the person has not been an Australian resident and in Australia for a period of, or periods totalling, 104 weeks.

Note:          If the person is subject to a liquid assets test waiting period, the liquid assets test waiting period runs concurrently with the newly arrived resident’s waiting period.

Exceptions

             (2)  The following persons are not subject to a newly arrived resident’s waiting period:

                     (a)  a person who is already subject to a newly arrived resident’s waiting period (within the meaning of this Act or the Social Security Act);

                     (b)  a person who has already served a newly arrived resident’s waiting period (within the meaning of this Act or the Social Security Act);

                     (c)  a person who has a qualifying residence exemption for a farm household allowance;

                     (d)  a person who, immediately before this section commenced, held a valid designated temporary entry permit for a continuous period of at least 26 weeks;

                     (e)  a person in relation to whom all of the following apply:

                              (i)  immediately before this section commenced, the person held a valid designated temporary entry permit for a continuous period (the permit period ) of less than 26 weeks;

                             (ii)  that permit was continued in force as a temporary visa by regulations made under the Migration Reform Act 1992 ;

                            (iii)  the period during which that permit continued to be in force as a temporary visa together with the permit period is at least 26 weeks;

                      (f)  a person who:

                              (i)  has previously entered Australia before 1 January 1993; and

                             (ii)  held a permanent entry permit granted under the Migration Act 1958 as then in force, or a permanent visa, before the person’s last departure from Australia;

                     (g)  a person in relation to whom all of the following apply:

                              (i)  the person is a New Zealand citizen;

                             (ii)  the person was an Australian resident on 1 February 2000;

                            (iii)  when the person claimed farm household allowance the person had been an Australian resident for the 12 months immediately preceding the claim, or continuously present in Australia for the 6 months immediately preceding the claim;

                     (h)  a person in relation to whom all of the following apply:

                              (i)  the person is the principal carer of one or more children;

                             (ii)  the person is not a member of a couple;

                            (iii)  the person was not a lone parent at the start of the person’s current period as an Australian resident.

43   Duration of newly arrived resident’s waiting period

             (1)  A person’s newly arrived resident’s waiting period:

                     (a)  starts on the day the person first became an Australian resident; and

                     (b)  ends (subject to subsection (2)) when the person has been an Australian resident and in Australia for a period of, or periods totalling, 104 weeks.

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  immediately before this section commenced, the person held a valid designated temporary entry permit; and

                     (b)  that permit was continued in force as a temporary visa by regulations made under the Migration Reform Act 1992 ; and

                     (c)  that temporary visa was in force immediately before the person was granted his or her permanent visa;

the newly arrived resident’s waiting period ends 26 weeks after the day on which the designated temporary entry permit was granted to the person.

44   Liquid assets test waiting period

                   A person is subject to a liquid assets test waiting period if:

                     (a)  the value of the person’s liquid assets exceeds the person’s maximum reserve on the day the person claims farm household allowance; and

                     (b)  neither the person nor the person’s partner was, at any time during the 12 months immediately before that day, already serving a liquid assets test waiting period (within the meaning of this Act or the Social Security Act).

Note:          The Secretary may waive all or part of the waiting period (see section 46).

45   Duration of liquid assets test waiting period

             (1)  The first day of a person’s liquid assets test waiting period is the day the person claims farm household allowance.

             (2)  The liquid assets test waiting period is the following number of weeks, rounded down to the nearest whole number and not more than 13, worked out on the first day of that period:

where:

divisor means:

                     (a)  if the person is not a member of a couple and does not have a dependent child—$500; or

                     (b)  otherwise—$1,000.

46   Waiver for severe financial hardship

             (1)  The Secretary may waive all or part of a person’s ordinary waiting period, or liquid assets test waiting period, if the Secretary is satisfied that the person:

                     (a)  would otherwise be in severe financial hardship because of substantiated unavoidable or reasonable expenditure to be incurred during the period; or

                     (b)  is in severe financial hardship because of substantiated unavoidable or reasonable expenditure incurred during that period.

             (2)  The Secretary’s rules may set out ways for substantiating unavoidable or reasonable expenditure.

47   Effect of being subject to more than one waiting period

                   To avoid doubt, if a person is subject to more than one waiting period under this Subdivision, a farm household allowance is not payable to the person until those waiting periods have ended.

Subdivision D Other situations where farm household allowance not payable

48   Seasonal workers

             (1)  This section applies if, at any time during the 6 months immediately before the day a person lodges a claim for farm household allowance, the person, or, if the person is a member of a couple, the person or the person’s partner, has been engaged in seasonal work.

             (2)  Farm household allowance is not payable to a person who is subject to a seasonal work preclusion period (whether in relation to the claim referred to in subsection (1) or any other claim under the Social Security Act) for the person’s seasonal work preclusion period.

             (3)  Despite subsection (2), the Secretary may determine that a person is not subject to the whole, or any part, of the preclusion period if the Secretary is satisfied that the person is in severe financial hardship because the person has incurred substantiated unavoidable or reasonable expenditure while the person is subject to a seasonal work preclusion period (whether in relation to the claim referred to in subsection (1) or any other claim under the Social Security Act).

             (4)  The Secretary’s rules may set out ways for substantiating unavoidable or reasonable expenditure.

Division 7 Overseas portability

49   Division does not affect need for qualification

                   To avoid doubt, nothing in this Division confers a right on a person to continue to be paid farm household allowance if the person is not qualified for the payment (even if the person’s failure to qualify is related to the absence).

50   Persons to whom Division applies

                   This Division applies (subject to section 52 (amounts added to rate)) to a person during a period (the period of absence ) throughout which the person is continuously absent from Australia, if:

                     (a)  the person was receiving farm household allowance immediately before the period of absence commenced; or

                     (b)  the person’s claim for such a payment is granted under the Social Security Administration Act during the period of absence.

51   Farm household allowance portable

             (1)  A person’s right to continue to be paid farm household allowance, throughout the person’s portability period for farm household allowance, is not affected merely by the period of absence.

             (2)  However, farm household allowance is not payable to the person throughout any of the period of absence that occurs after the end of the person’s portability period.

Reserve service

             (3)  A person’s right to continue to be paid farm household allowance is not affected throughout so much of the period of absence as is for the purposes of undertaking Reserve service.

52   Amounts added to rate

                   During the period of absence, rent assistance and pharmaceutical allowance are not to be added to the person’s rate worked out in accordance with Division 8 after the end of the person’s portability period for farm household allowance.

53   Meaning of allowable absence and portability period

Meaning of allowable absence

             (1)  An absence is an allowable absence in relation to farm household allowance at a particular time if, at that time, it is a temporary absence (of no longer than 6 weeks) for any of the following purposes:

                     (a)  to seek eligible medical treatment;

                     (b)  to attend to an acute family crisis;

                     (c)  for a humanitarian purpose.

Meaning of portability period

             (2)  A person’s portability period for farm household allowance, in relation to the period of absence, is the period:

                     (a)  beginning at the commencement of the period of absence; and

                     (b)  ending (subject to section 54) at the earlier of the following times:

                              (i)  the first time during the period of absence at which the absence is not an allowable absence in relation to the payment;

                             (ii)  the end of 6 weeks.

Note:          People are required (under the Social Security Administration Act) to notify changes in circumstances.

54   Secretary may extend the portability period

             (1)  The Secretary may extend a portability period if the Secretary is satisfied that the person who is not in Australia during the period is absent because:

                     (a)  the person is unable to return to Australia because of any of the following events:

                              (i)  a serious accident involving the person or a family member of the person;

                             (ii)  a serious illness of the person or a family member of the person;

                            (iii)  the hospitalisation of the person or a family member of the person;

                            (iv)  the death of a family member of the person;

                             (v)  the person’s involvement in custody proceedings in the country in which the person is located;

                            (vi)  a legal requirement for the person to remain outside Australia in connection with criminal proceedings (other than criminal proceedings in respect of a crime alleged to have been committed by the person);

                           (vii)  robbery or serious crime committed against the person or a family member of the person;

                          (viii)  a natural disaster in the country in which the person is located;

                            (ix)  political or social unrest in the country in which the person is located;

                             (x)  industrial action in the country in which the person is located;

                            (xi)  a war in the country in which the person is located; or

                     (b)  under the Medical Treatment Overseas Program administered by the Minister who administers the National Health Act 1953 , financial assistance is payable in respect of the person’s absence from Australia.

             (2)  The Secretary must not extend the person’s portability period under paragraph (1)(a) unless:

                     (a)  the event occurred or began during the period of absence; and

                     (b)  if the event is political or social unrest, industrial action or war—the person is not willingly involved in, or willingly participating in the event.

             (3)  If the Secretary extends a person’s portability period under subsection (1), the person’s portability period for farm household allowance, for the purposes of this Division, is the extended period.

Division 8 Rate of farm household allowance

Subdivision A Persons who have turned 22

55   How to work out the rate of a person’s farm household allowance

             (1)  The rate of farm household allowance for a person who has turned 22 is to be worked out using Benefit Rate Calculator B.

Note:          Section 93 of this Act has the effect that a reference in Benefit Rate Calculator B to newstart allowance is taken to include a reference to farm household allowance.

             (2)  This section has effect subject to this Subdivision and Subdivisions C and D.

             (3)  To avoid doubt, sections 644AAA to 653A of the Social Security Act do not apply to the rate of farm household allowance for a person.

56   Maximum basic rate

                   Module B of Benefit Rate Calculator B applies in relation to the rate of farm household allowance for a person who has turned 22 as if point 1068-B5 of Benefit Rate Calculator B did not apply.

57   Pension supplement does not apply

                   The following do not apply in relation to the rate of farm household allowance for a person who has turned 22:

                     (a)  step 1A of the method statement in point 1068-A1 of Benefit Rate Calculator B;

                     (b)  Module BA of Benefit Rate Calculator B.

58   Clean » « energy » supplement

                   Module C of Benefit Rate Calculator B applies in relation to the rate of farm household allowance for a person who has turned 22 as if the person:

                     (a)  has not reached pension age; and

                     (b)  is not covered by point 1068-B5 of Benefit Rate Calculator B.

Note:          Quarterly « clean » « energy » supplement is not payable to a recipient of farm household allowance (see section 94).

59   Pharmaceutical allowance

                   Module D of Benefit Rate Calculator B applies in relation to the rate of farm household allowance for a person who has turned 22 as if paragraph 1068-D2B(a) and point 1068-D3 of Benefit Rate Calculator B did not apply.

Subdivision B Persons who have not turned 22

60   How to work out the rate of a person’s farm household allowance

             (1)  The rate of farm household allowance for a person who has not turned 22 is to be worked out using the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator, as if the person:

                     (a)  were independent within the meaning of section 1067A of the Social Security Act; and

                     (b)  were not an accommodated independent person within the meaning of section 1067B of that Act; and

                     (c)  were not a long term income support student within the meaning of section 1067F of that Act.

Note 1:       Section 93 of this Act has the effect that a reference in the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator to youth allowance is taken to include a reference to farm household allowance.

Note 2:       As the person is taken to be independent, the parental income test and the family actual means test (Modules F and G of the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator) will not apply.

             (2)  This section has effect subject to this Subdivision and Subdivisions C and D.

             (3)  To avoid doubt, sections 556A to 559J of the Social Security Act do not apply to the rate of farm household allowance for a person.

61   Maximum basic rate

                   Module B of the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator applies in relation to the rate of farm household allowance for a person who has not turned 22 as if point 1067G-B3A of the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator did not apply.

62   « Clean » « energy » supplement

                   Module BA of the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator applies in relation to the rate of farm household allowance for a person who has not turned 22 as if the person is not covered by point 1067G-B3A of the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator.

Note:          Quarterly « clean » « energy supplement is not payable to a recipient of farm household allowance (see section 94).

63   Pharmaceutical allowance

                   Module C of the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator applies in relation to the rate of farm household allowance for a person who has not turned 22 as if:

                     (a)  paragraph 1067G-C1(a) of the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator did not apply; and

                     (b)  the reference in paragraph 1067G-C2A(b) of the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator to a new apprentice were omitted.

64   Youth disability supplement does not apply

                   The following do not apply in relation to the rate of farm household allowance for a person who has not turned 22:

                     (a)  step 2A of the method statement in point 1067G-A1 of the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator;

                     (b)  Module D of the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator.

65   Student income bank does not apply

                   Module J of the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator does not apply in relation to the rate of farm household allowance for a person who has not turned 22.

Subdivision C Income test

66   Deemed income from financial assets

                   For the purpose of applying Division 1B of Part 3.10 of the Social Security Act in working out the rate of farm household allowance for a person, if:

                     (a)  the person is a beneficiary of a trust, or a shareholder of a company; and

                     (b)  the person makes a loan to the trustee of the trust, or to the company; and

                     (c)  the loan relates to a farm asset that:

                              (i)  the trustee has in the capacity of trustee; or

                             (ii)  the company has; and

                     (d)  the outstanding amount of the principal of the loan exceeds the total value of all the financial investments:

                              (i)  the trustee has in the capacity of trustee; or

                             (ii)  the company has;

the loan is taken, to the extent that it relates to that farm asset, not to be a financial asset that the person has.

67   Allowable deductions from ordinary income

             (1)  For the purpose of applying section 1072 of the Social Security Act in working out the rate of farm household allowance for a person, if:

                     (a)  during a tax year the person incurs an amount that has been prescribed to be an allowable deduction under subsection (2) of this section; and

                     (b)  at the time of incurring the amount, the person carries on a business that is wholly or partly a farm enterprise;

the person’s ordinary income for the tax year is to be reduced by so much of the amount as relates to the farm enterprise.

             (2)  The Minister’s rules may prescribe a kind of amount to be an allowable deduction for the purposes of this section.

             (3)  Without limiting subsection (2), the prescription of a kind of amount for the purposes of that subsection may include a maximum amount.

             (4)  In working out the rate of farm household allowance for a person, section 1075 of the Social Security Act does not apply.

             (5)  Subsection (4) does not limit the power to make Minister’s rules for the purposes of subsection (2).

Subdivision D Estimates of business income

68   Determination of rate may be based on estimate

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  a person’s rate of farm household allowance is required to be determined for the purposes of the Social Security Administration Act (as it applies because of Part 5 of this Act); and

                     (b)  information about the amount of the person’s business income needed for the determination of the rate is not available (for example, because the business income of the person cannot be known until after the end of the relevant income year); and

                     (c)  the person, or if the person has died, another person making a claim under that Act (as so applied) gives the Secretary an estimate of the person’s business income; and

                     (d)  the Secretary considers the estimate to be reasonable;

the Secretary may determine the person’s rate of farm household allowance on the basis of the estimate, to the extent that the rate is affected by the amount of the person’s business income.

             (2)  The rate cannot be determined if the Secretary does not consider the estimate reasonable.

             (3)  A person’s business income is ordinary income of the person in the form of profits from a business carried on by the person.

69   Date of effect of determinations based on estimates of business income

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  farm household allowance is being, or has been, paid to a person as a result of a decision (the original decision ) that was based, wholly or partly, on an estimate of a person’s business income; and

                     (b)  the Secretary makes a determination (the new determination ), relating to the allowance, under Subdivision A of Division 7 of Part 3 of the Social Security Administration Act (as it applies because of Part 5 of this Act), whether or not the new determination is the first such determination; and

                     (c)  the reason, or one of the reasons, for making the new determination is that the Secretary considers that:

                              (i)  information about the amount of the person’s business income is now available; and

                             (ii)  the person’s business income differs from the estimate on which the original decision was wholly or partly based;

the new determination takes effect on the day the determination embodying the original decision took effect, or on the first day of the financial year to which subsection (2) applies, whichever is later.

             (2)  This subsection applies to:

                     (a)  the financial year preceding the financial year in which the new determination was made; or

                     (b)  if the Secretary specifies an earlier financial year in the new determination—that earlier financial year.

             (3)  This section has effect despite Division 9 of Part 3 of the Social Security Administration Act (as it applies because of Part 5 of this Act), but does not affect the application of section 109 of that Act as so applied in relation to a review of the new determination.

             (4)  To avoid doubt, a person’s entitlement to the benefit of a payment, for the purposes of section 1223 of the Social Security Act (as it applies because of Part 5 of this Act), is to be ascertained taking into account when any relevant new determinations take effect under this section.

70   Debts arising from payments of farm household allowance based on estimates of business income

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  farm household allowance is being, or has been, paid to a person as a result of a decision that was based, wholly or partly, on an estimate of a person’s business income; and

                     (b)  the person has not complied with a notice under section 68 or 69 of the Social Security Administration Act (as it applies because of Part 5 of this Act); and

                     (c)  the notice related to the person’s business income during a particular period; and

                     (d)  the Secretary is satisfied that, if the person had complied with the notice, information about the amount of the person’s business income during the period could have been ascertained;

the amount of farm household allowance paid to the person in relation to the period is a debt due to the Commonwealth, and is taken, for the purposes of the Social Security Act, to have arisen under Part 5.2 of that Act.

             (2)  This section does not limit the application of Part 5.2 of the Social Security Act (as it applies because of Part 5 of this Act).

Division 9 Compliance with obligations in relation to farm household allowance

71   Qualification failures

             (1)  The Secretary may determine that a person commits a qualification failure if:

                     (a)  the person fails to comply with a notice given under section 14 within the period specified in the notice (requirement to enter financial improvement agreement); or

                     (b)  the person fails to comply with subsection 18(1) within the period specified in subsection 18(2) (notification of circumstances preventing or affecting compliance); or

                     (c)  the person:

                              (i)  fails to satisfy the activity test; and

                             (ii)  the person is not exempt, under Division 5, from the activity test.

             (2)  The Secretary may revoke the determination if the failure is rectified within the period of 13 weeks beginning on the day the failure began.

72   Consequences of qualification failures

             (1)  Farm household allowance is not payable to a person during the period that:

                     (a)  begins on the day the Secretary makes a determination that the person has committed a qualification failure; and

                     (b)  ends on the day the Secretary revokes the determination.

             (2)  A person ceases to be qualified for farm household allowance if:

                     (a)  the Secretary makes a determination that the person has committed a qualification failure; and

                     (b)  the failure is not rectified within the period of 13 weeks beginning on the day the failure began.

73   Conduct failures

                   The Secretary may determine that a person commits a conduct failure if the person has done any of the following:

                     (a)  engaged in misconduct while undertaking an activity that is specified in the financial improvement agreement that is in force in relation to the person;

                     (b)  refused or failed to accept an offer of suitable employment in accordance with a financial improvement agreement that is in force in relation to the person;

                     (c)  an act that resulted (directly or indirectly) in the person becoming unemployed, and it was reasonably foreseeable that acting in that manner could result in the person becoming unemployed.

74   Consequences of conduct failures

                   Farm household allowance is not payable to a person during the period that:

                     (a)  begins on the day the Secretary makes a determination that the person has committed a conduct failure; and

                     (b)  ends:

                              (i)  if the Secretary revokes the determination under section 75—on the day mentioned in that section; or

                             (ii)  otherwise—8 weeks after the period began.

75   Revoking a determination relating to a conduct failure

             (1)  The Secretary may revoke a determination that a person has committed a conduct failure if the Secretary determines that continuing the period referred to in section 74 would cause the person to be in severe financial hardship.

             (2)  The Secretary may make a determination under subsection (1) on request or on his or her own initiative.

             (3)  For the purposes of subparagraph 74(b)(i), the day the period ends is:

                     (a)  if the Secretary makes a determination under subsection (1) of this section on request—the day before the request was made; or

                     (b)  if the Secretary makes a determination under subsection (1) on his or her own initiative—the day before the Secretary makes the determination.

76   Reasonable excuses

             (1)  The Secretary must not make a determination that a person has committed a qualification failure or a conduct failure if the person satisfies the Secretary that the person has a reasonable excuse for the failure.

             (2)  A determination that a person has committed a qualification failure or a conduct failure is taken never to have been made if, after the Secretary makes the determination, the person satisfies the Secretary that the person had a reasonable excuse for the failure.

Secretary’s rules

             (3)  The Secretary’s rules may specify matters the Secretary must take into account in deciding whether a person has a reasonable excuse for committing a failure.

             (4)  To avoid doubt, the Secretary’s rules do not limit the matters that the Secretary may take into account in deciding whether the person has a reasonable excuse.

Requirements for reasonable excuses

             (5)  An excuse for failing to satisfy the activity test cannot be a reasonable excuse for the purposes of paragraph 71(1)(c) unless:

                     (a)  before the start of the relevant activity on the day concerned, the person notified the excuse to the person or body specified in the financial improvement agreement as the person or body to whom prior notice should be given if the person is unable to undertake the activity; or

                     (b)  the Secretary is satisfied that in those circumstances it would be unreasonable to expect the person to give the notification.

77   Day of determination

                   For the purposes of sections 72 and 74 (consequences of qualification and conduct failures), the day the Secretary makes the determination is the day the Secretary originally makes the determination (even if another decision in relation to the determination is later made on review).

78   Relationship with section 80 of the Social Security Administration Act

                   Nothing in this Division affects the power of the Secretary to cancel or suspend a payment of farm household allowance under section 80 of the Social Security Administration Act.