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Thursday, 20 March 2003
Page: 9820

Senator BOSWELL (Queensland— Leader of the National Party of Australia in the Senate and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services) (9.41 a.m.)—I table the revised explanatory memorandum relating to the bill and I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows

This bill contains a number of non-Budget measures that will assist in more effective and efficient administration of the social security law and family assistance law.

This bill primarily contains various minor and technical amendments to the Social Security Act 1991, the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999, the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999, the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 and other Family and Community Services portfolio legislation.

The technical amendments contained in this bill include the repeal of redundant provisions, references and notes and the renumbering of misdescribed provisions. This bill also makes minor amendments which largely seek to simplify and clarify existing legislative provisions, achieve consistency between similar provisions and payment types, and address some unintended consequences of earlier amendments.

The bill also makes some minor policy changes, such as amending the Social Security Act 1991 to allow a person to be qualified for mobility allowance if they are undertaking approved activities, such as gainful employment, vocational training or voluntary work, for at least 32 hours every four weeks, rather than eight hours every week. This will provide more flexibility for mobility allowance customers, and recognises that these customers have different needs and abilities, which may affect the number of hours they are able to undertake approved activities in a particular week.

In addition, the bill repeals the First Home Owners Act 1983, which is now redundant given that no new applications have been permitted under that Act since 1991.

Debate (on motion by Senator Mackay) adjourned.

Ordered that the resumption of the debate be made an order of the day for a later hour.