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Thursday, 29 May 1997
Page: 4510


Mr RUDDOCK (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs)(12.04 p.m.) —I move:

Social Security Legislation Amendment (Activity Test Penalty Periods) Bill 1997

(1)   Schedule 1, item 19, page 9 (line 17), omit "13", substitute "8".

(2)   Schedule 1, item 24, page 10 (lines 3 to 6), omit the item, substitute:

24 Subsection 630BA(1)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

(1)   Subject to section 630BB, if:

   (a)   at a time when the person was not qualified for a newstart allowance, an event occurred that would have resulted in an activity test non-payment period applying to the person under:

      (i)   section 624 because the person would have been taken to have failed the activity test under subsection 601A(2); or

      (ii)   section 628 or 629;

      had the person made a claim for a newstart allowance; and

   (b)   before the end of that period (assuming that the period had commenced on the day on which the event occurred), the person made a claim for a newstart allowance;

   the activity test non-payment period is taken to have commenced on the day after the day on which the event occurred.

   Note:   The heading to section 630BA is altered by omitting "deferment " and substituting "non-payment ".

(3)   Schedule 1, item 26, page 10 (lines 9 and 10), omit the item, substitute:

26 Subsection 630BA(3)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

(3)   Subject to section 630BB, if:

   (a)   at a time when the person was not qualified for a newstart allowance, an event occurred that would have resulted in an activity test non-payment period applying to the person under:

      (i)   section 624 because the person would have been taken to have failed the activity test under subsection 601A(2); or

      (ii)   section 628 or 629;

      had the person made a claim for a newstart allowance; and

   (b)   the person made a claim for a newstart allowance after the end of that period (assuming that the period had commenced on the day on which the event occurred);

   then:

   (c)   the activity test non-payment period is taken to have commenced and to have ended before the claim was made; and

   (d)   the Secretary is not obliged to give the person a written notice under subsection 630B(1) in respect of the activity test non-payment period.

(4)   Schedule 1, item 32, page 13 (lines 12 to 16), omit paragraph (a), substitute:

   (a)   at a time when the person was not qualified for a newstart allowance, an event occurred that would have resulted in an activity test breach rate reduction period applying to the person under:

      (i)   section 624 because the person would have been taken to have failed the activity test under subsection 601A(2); or

      (ii)   section 628 or 629;

      had the person made a claim for a newstart allowance; and

(5)   Schedule 1, item 32, page 13 (lines 23 to 27), omit paragraph (a), substitute:

   (a)   at a time when the person was not qualified for a newstart allowance, an event occurred that would have resulted in an activity test breach rate reduction period applying to the person under:

      (i)   section 624 because the person would have been taken to have failed the activity test under subsection 601A(2); or

      (ii)   section 628 or 629;

      had the person made a claim for a newstart allowance; and

(6)   Schedule 1, item 32, page 16 (line 1), omit "0.36", substitute "0.24".

(7)   Schedule 1, item 36, page 18 (line 12), omit "restrictions on payments relating to the waiting period are", substitute "restriction on payment relating to the waiting period is".

(8)   Schedule 1, item 53, page 25 (line 27), omit "13", substitute "8".

(9)   Schedule 1, item 58, page 26 (lines 12 to 15), omit the item, substitute:

58 Subsection 111(1)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

(1)   Subject to section 112:

   (a)   at a time when the person was not qualified for a youth training allowance, an event occurred that would have resulted in an activity test non-payment period applying to the person under:

      (i)   section 103 because the person would have been taken to have failed the activity test under subsection 75A(2); or

      (ii)   section 106 or 107;

      had the person made a claim for a youth training allowance; and

   (b)   before the end of that period (assuming that the period had commenced on the day on which the event occurred), the person made a claim for a youth training allowance;

   the activity test non-payment period is taken to have commenced on the day after the day on which the event occurred.

   Note:   The heading to section 111 is altered by omitting "deferment " and substituting "non-payment ".

(10)   Schedule 1, item 60, page 26 (lines 18 and 19), omit the item, substitute:

60 Subsection 111(3)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

(3)   Subject to section 112, if:

   (a)   at a time when the person was not qualified for a youth training allowance, an event occurred that would have resulted in an activity test non-payment period applying to the person under:

      (i)   section 103 because the person would have been taken to have failed the activity test under subsection 75A(2); or

      (ii)   section 106 or 107;

      had the person made a claim for a youth training allowance; and

   (b)   the person made a claim for a youth training allowance after the end of that period (assuming that the period had commenced on the day on which the event occurred);

   then:

   (c)   the activity test non-payment period is taken to have commenced and to have ended before the claim was made; and

   (d)   the Secretary is not obliged to give the person a written notice under subsection 110(1) in respect of the activity test non-payment period.

(11)   Schedule 1, item 66, page 29 (lines 20 to 24), omit the paragraph, substitute:

   (a)   at a time when the person was not qualified for a youth training allowance, an event occurred that would have resulted in an activity test breach rate reduction period applying to the person under:

      (i)   section 103 because the person would have been taken to have failed the activity test under subsection 75A(2); or

      (ii)   section 106 or 107;

      had the person made a claim for a youth training allowance; and

(12)   Schedule 1, item 66, page 29 (line 31) to page 30 (line 2), omit the paragraph, substitute:

   (a)   at a time when the person was not qualified for a youth training allowance, an event occurred that would have resulted in an activity test breach rate reduction period applying to the person under:

      (i)   section 103 because the person would have been taken to have failed the activity test under subsection 75A(2); or

      (ii)   section 106 or 107;

      had the person made a claim for a youth training allowance; and

(13)   Schedule 1, item 66, page 32 (line 1), omit "0.36", substitute "0.24".

(14)   Schedule 1, item 70, page 34 (line 12), omit "restrictions on payments relating to the waiting period are", substitute "restriction on payment relating to the waiting period is".

(15)   Schedule 2, item 9, page 42 (line 13), omit "4D(1)(c) ", insert "4D(1)(b) ".

The government amendments can be broadly grouped into three areas. The first, following discussions with the opposition as I have mentioned, is that changes are made by amendments 1, 6, 8 and 13 to the penalty periods applicable where a person breaches the activity test. The penalty for the second activity test breach is reduced from 36 per cent rate reduction over 26 weeks, to a rate reduction of 24 per cent.

In addition, the penalty for the third or subsequent activity test breach is reduced from 13 weeks of non-payment to an eight-week period of non-payment. This is now agreed. This group of changes lessens the severity of the activity test breach penalties for second and subsequent breaches, while maintaining the broad structure and integrity of the new regime.

Second, changes are made by amendments 2 to 5 and 9 to 12 to clarify the intention of the provisions relating to the application of the activity test penalty period, whether rate reduction or non-payment in respect of breaches that occur before a person claims an unemployment payment. The government amendments will make it clear that these provisions only apply to cases of voluntary unemployment, unemployment due to misconduct, and voluntarily leaving or being dismissed from a labour market program due to misconduct.

Third, a number of technical changes are made by amendments 7, 14 and 15 that standardise the terminology used in the new provisions and correct a minor numerical error.

Amendments agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —The bill has been agreed to with amendments. The question now is that the bill be reported to the House with amendments.

Question resolved in the affirmative.