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Family and Community Services Legislation Amendment (Australians Working Together and other 2001 Budget Measures) Bill 2003

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2680

2002

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

 

 

Family and Community Services Legislation Amendment (Australians Working Together and other 2001 Budget Measures) Bill 2002

 

 

(1)     Page 2 (after line 11), after clause 3, add:

4  Evaluation

             (1)  The Minister must conduct an evaluation of the changes contained in Schedules 1 and 5 of this Act.

             (2)  The evaluation must include:

                     (a)  number of parenting payment (single), parenting payment (partnered) recipients required to enter into participation agreements and the number granted an exemption;

                     (b)  details of expenditure on ancillary assistance provided to those affected by the measures such as expenditure on job network and training;

                     (c)  employment outcomes of parenting payment (single), parenting payment (partnered) and newstart mature age recipients targeted by the measures compared to the employment outcomes of these groups prior to the implementation of the measures;

                     (d)  details of average earnings of the target population affected by the measures compared to earnings of the target population prior to the implementation of the measures;

                     (e)  details of compliance with the activity agreements for parenting payment (single), parenting payment (partnered) and newstart mature age recipients, including numbers for each group where a breach penalty was applied, and the reasons for applying a breach penalty;

                      (f)  details of total savings resulting from breach penalties applied to parenting payment (single), parenting payment (partnered) and newstart mature age recipients required to enter into activity agreements;

                     (g)  an assessment of the impact of the measures in Schedule 1 on children of parenting payment recipients;

                     (h)  a cost benefit analysis of the new participation measures applying to parenting payment (single), parenting payment (partnered) and newstart mature age recipients.

             (3)  The evaluation must be completed and tabled in each House of the Parliament two years after the commencement of this Act.

[evaluation]

(2)     Schedule 1, item 11, page 7 (lines 13 to 15), omit subsection (3), substitute:

             (3)  Subject to subsection (4), the participation agreement breach non-payment period starts 14 days after the day on which the notice is given to the person.

[requirement for notice]

(3)     Schedule 1, item 12, page 9 (lines 23 to 33), omit subsection (4), substitute:

             (4)  I n having regard to a person’s capacity to comply with the terms of a participation agreement and the person’s needs and his or her child’s or children’s needs, the Secretary is to take into account, but is not limited to the following matters:

                     (a)  the person’s education, experience, skills, age, disability or illness, mental and physical condition; and

                     (b)  the state of the local labour market and transport in the area where the person and the child or children live; and

                     (c)  the participation opportunities available to the person and any barriers to employment arising from matters listed in paragraph (a); and

                     (d)  the family and caring responsibilities of the person, including the needs and interests of the child or children and the support services available; and

                     (e)  current court proceedings in the Family Court or criminal courts or current child welfare concerns, such as drugs or school truanting; and

                      (f)  the length of travel time required to participate; and

                     (g)  the financial costs of compliance, such as travel costs, and the capacity to pay for such compliance; and

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

[factors for compliance in agreement]

(4)     Schedule 1, item 12, page 10 (lines 6 to 10), omit paragraphs (a) and (b), substitute:

                     (a)  h as established that the terms of the agreement are such that it will improve the prospects of the person gaining paid employment; and

                     (b)  has made reasonable attempts to contact the person in relation to the requirement to comply with the terms of the agreement; and

                     (c)  has had regard to the reasons, if any, provided by the person for not complying with the terms of the agreement; and

                     (d)  has had regard to the support in place to enable the person to take the steps provided for in this section.

[factors to consider before determining failure to comply]

(5)     Schedule 1, item 12, page 10 (after line 21), after subsection (1), insert:

          (1A)  For the purposes of subsection (1) , a person may be considered to be an exempt person if the person has special circumstances that would prevent them from further participation requirements. An exemption issued because of special circumstances can be applied for a period of up to six months, and can be applied for more than one six month period.

[special circumstances—exemption]

(6)     Schedule 1, item 12, page 10 (line 34), at the end of subsection (2), add:

               ; or (d)  a child with a severe disability; or

                     (e)  caring responsibilities for a partner, relative or other adult person who has a disability; or

                      (f)  a disability sufficient to qualify him or her for the Disability Support Pension; or

                     (g)  personal circumstances that restrict his or her capacity to participate, such as:

                              (i)  domestic violence or other trauma, including a reasonable expectation that the person or his or her child or children are at risk; or

                             (ii)  health problems of the person or his or her child or children; or

                     (h)  issues to do with homelessness or housing instability; or

                      (i)  separated from his or her partner in the past six months.

[exemptions]

(7)     Schedule 1, item 12, page 11 (line 29) to page 12 (line 2), omit subsection (1), substitute:

             (1)  A participation agreement is a written agreement between the Secretary and another person, in a form approved by the Secretary, under which the person agrees, during each period of 6 months that the agreement remains in force, to undertake approved activities which are anticipated to take up to 150 hours or such lesser number of hours as are agreed between them, provided such activities will materially improve the prospects of the person gaining paid employment. Participation agreements will set out the range of supportive services such as labour market programs and child care assistance that the Secretary undertakes to organise or provide in order to assist the person to meet his or her participation requirements in the negotiated agreement.

[form of agreement]

(8)     Schedule 1, item 12, page 12 (lines 11 and 12), omit paragraph (e).

[approved activities]

(9)     Schedule 1, item 12, page 12 (line 17), omit paragraph (i).

[approved activities]

(10)   Schedule 1, item 12, page 12 (lines 19 to 21), omit paragraph (k), substitute:

                     (k)  another activity that the Secretary regards as suitable for the person, which may include, for example, voluntary work or rehabilitation, and that is agreed to between the person and the Secretary.

[approved activities]

(11)   Schedule 1, item 12, page 12 (line 28) to page 13 (line 4), omit subsection (4), substitute:

             (4)  In having regard to a person’s capacity to comply with the terms of a participation agreement and the person’s needs and his or her child’s or children’s needs, the Secretary is to take into account, but is not limited to the following matters:

                     (a)  the person’s education, experience, skills, age, disability or illness, mental and physical condition; and

                     (b)  the state of the local labour market and transport in the area where the person and the child or children live; and

                     (c)  the participation opportunities available to the person and any barriers to employment arising from paragraph (a); and

                     (d)  the family and caring responsibilities of the person, including the needs and interests of the child or children and the support services available; and

                     (e)  current court proceedings; and

                      (f)  the length of travel time required to participate; and

                     (g)  the financial costs of compliance, such as travel costs, and the capacity to pay for such compliance; and

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

[capacity to comply]

(12)   Schedule 1, item 12, page 13 (line 7), after “Secretary”, insert “and the person”.

[parties to agreement]

(13)   Schedule 1, item 12, page 13 (after line 13), after subsection (5), insert:

Cooling-off period

          (5A)  The terms of the agreement:

                     (a)  may be varied by the person with the approval of the Secretary within 14 days of the terms of the agreement being approved;

                     (b)  the Secretary must give notice to the person of his or her rights in accordance with paragraph (a) at the time of approving the agreement.

[cooling-off period]

(14)   Schedule 1, item 12, page 14 (line 23), subparagraph (1)(b)(i), after “agree to”, insert “the reasonable”.

[terms of agreement]

(15)   Schedule 1, item 13, page 17 (after line 25), after subsection (1), insert:

          (1A)  A notice under subsection (1) must contain reasons why the participation agreement breach rate reduction period applies to the person.

[provision of reasons]

(16)   Schedule 1, item 13, page 17 (line 27) to page 18 (line 6), omit subsections (2) and (3), substitute:

             (2)  Subject to subsection (3), the participation agreement breach rate reduction period starts 14 days after the day on which the notice is given to the person.

Parenting payment ceasing to be payable

             (3)  If, on or before the day on which the person’s participation agreement breach rate reduction period would (apart from this subsection) have started, parenting payment ceases to be payable to the person, the period starts on the day on which parenting payment ceases to be payable to the person provided that the period does not start before 14 days after the day on which the notice is given to the person.

[notice period]

(17)   Schedule 5, page 45 (after line 2), after item 8, insert:

8A  After subsection 601(1A)

Insert:

       (1AA)  If the person is at least 50 years of age but less than 60 years of age, the particular number of advertised job vacancies shall not exceed 24 per 12 weeks in the period specified in the notice.

       (1AB)  If the person is at least 60 years of age, the particular number of advertised job vacancies shall not exceed 12 per 12 weeks in the period specified in the notice.

[number of job vacancies]

(18)   Schedule 5, page 45 (after line 29), after item 11, insert:

11A  Subsection 606(4)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

             (4)  I n having regard to a person’s capacity to comply with the terms of a participation agreement and the person’s needs and his or her child’s or children’s needs, the Secretary is to take into account, but is not limited to the following matters:

                     (a)  the person’s education, experience, skills, age, disability or illness, mental and physical condition; and

                     (b)  the state of the local labour market and transport in the area where the person and the child or children live; and

                     (c)  the participation opportunities available to the person and any barriers to employment arising from matters listed in paragraph (a); and

                     (d)  the family and caring responsibilities of the person, including the needs and interests of the child or children and the support services available; and

                     (e)  current court proceedings in the Family Court or criminal courts or current child welfare concerns, such as drugs or school truanting; and

                      (f)  the length of travel time required to participate; and

                     (g)  the financial costs of compliance, such as travel costs, and the capacity to pay for such compliance; and

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

[factors for compliance]

(19)   Schedule 5, page 45 (after line 29), after item 11, insert:

11B  After subsection 606(5)

Insert:

Cooling-off period

          (5A)  The terms of the agreement:

                     (a)  may be varied by the person with the approval of the Secretary within 14 days of the terms of the agreement being approved;

                     (b)  the Secretary must give notice to the person of his or her rights in accordance with paragraph (a) at the time of approving the agreement.

[cooling-off period]

(20)   Schedule 5, page 45 (after line 29), after item 11, insert:

11C  Subparagraph 607(1)(iii)

After “agree to”, insert “the reasonable”.

[terms of agreement]