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

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2791

REVISED

(Consolidation of sheets

2680 and 2722)

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, insert:

4  Evaluation

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

             (2)  Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the evaluation must include the following:

                     (a)  the numbers of parenting payment (single) recipients and parenting payment (partnered) recipients required to enter into participation agreements and the number of such recipients 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) recipients, parenting payment (partnered) recipients 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) recipients, parenting payment (partnered) recipients and newstart mature age recipients, including the numbers for each group in situations 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) recipients, parenting payment (partnered) recipients 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) recipients, parenting payment (partnered) recipients and newstart mature age recipients.

             (3)  The evaluation must be completed and tabled in each House of the Parliament by 30 June 2005.

[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 on the 14 th day 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)  In having regard to a person’s capacity to comply with the terms of a participation agreement and the person’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, illness, mental and physical condition; and

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

                     (c)  the participation opportunities available to the person; and

                     (d)  the family and caring responsibilities of the person, (including those arising from any significant adverse effect on a PP child of a person that would result from the person’s compliance with the terms of the agreement); 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 for compliance with the agreement; and

                     (g)  the financial costs of compliance with the agreement, 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)  is satisfied that the terms of the agreement were intended to assist the person over time in gaining employment or undertaking study or training; and

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

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

                     (d)  has confirmed the adequacy of the support that the Secretary agreed to provide under the agreement.

[factors to consider before determining failure to comply]

(5)     Schedule 1, Item 12, page 10 (line 18), after “subsection (2)”, insert “or (2A)”.

[exempt persons]

(R6)  Schedule 1, item 12, page 10 (after line 34), after subsection (2), insert:

Exempt persons-periodic exemptions

          (2A)  For the purposes of subsection (1), a person is an exempt person for a particular period determined by the Secretary under this subsection if:

                     (a)  the person has one or more PP children:

                              (i)  who suffer from a physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability; and

                             (ii)  whose care needs are such that the person could not be reasonably expected at that time to comply with the terms of a participation agreement; or

                     (b)  a critical event occurs that was not within the person’s control (eg family or personal crisis, the Secretary is satisfied the person has separated from his or her partner on a permanent or indefinite basis in the past 26 weeks, person’s house burning down, evidence of domestic violence, serious illness of PP children) and, as a result, the person is temporarily unable to comply with the terms of a participation agreement.

          (2B)  At any one time the maximum period for which the Secretary may determine that a person is an exempt person under subsection (2A) is:

                     (a)  if paragraph (2A)(a) applies to the person - 12 months;

                     (b)  if paragraph (2A)(b) applies to the person - 26 weeks.

          (2C)  The Secretary may make more than one determination under subsection (2A) in respect of a person.

[exempt persons]

(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 to undertake, during each period of 26 weeks that the agreement is in force, approved activities anticipated to take 150 hours or such lesser number of hours as are agreed between them. Participation agreements will set out the support that the Secretary undertakes to provide 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 (line 17), after “program” add “as defined in section 23 of the Social Security Act 1991 ”.

[approved activities]

(9)     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, including voluntary work, and that is agreed to between the person and the Secretary.

[approved activities]

(10)   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 to the person’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, illness, mental and physical condition; and

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

                     (c)  the participation opportunities available to the person; and

                     (d)  the family and caring responsibilities of the person, (including those arising from any significant adverse effect on a PP child of a person that would result from the person’s compliance with the terms of the agreement); 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 for compliance with the agreement; and

                     (g)  the financial costs of compliance with the agreement, 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]

(11)   Schedule 1, item 12, page 13 (line 7), after “varied”, insert “(in negotiation with the person)”.

[variation of agreement]

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

Cooling-off period

          (5A)  Within 14 days of the terms of the participation agreement being approved, those terms may be varied by the person with the approval of the Secretary.

Requirement to notify

          (5B)  The Secretary must advise the person of the effect of subsection (5A).

Avoidance of doubt

          (5C)  To avoid doubt, subsection (5A) does not prevent the person at any time from requesting a review of an agreement under paragraph (5)(c).

[cooling-off period]

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

[terms of agreement]

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

Notice to contain reasons

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

[provision of reasons]

(15)   Schedule 1, item 13, page 17 (lines 27 to 29), omit subsection (2), substitute:

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

[notice period]

(16)   Schedule 1, page 20 (after line 10), after item 20, insert:

20A  After subsection 544(2)

I nsert:

Secretary must contact person before determining failure to comply with terms

             (3)  The Secretary must not determine that a person has failed to take reasonable steps to comply with the terms of a youth allowance activity agreement unless the Secretary:

                     (a)  is satisfied that the terms of the agreement were intended to assist the person over time in gaining employment or undertaking study or training; and

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

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

                     (d)  has confirmed the adequacy of the support that the Secretary agreed to provide under the agreement.

[factors to consider before determining failure to comply]

(17)   Schedule 1, page 20 (after line 13), after item 21, insert:

 

21A  Subsection 544B(4)

Re peal the subsection, substitute:

             (4)  In having regard to a person’s capacity to comply with an agreement, the Secretary is to take into account, but is not limited to the following matters:

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

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

                     (c)  the participation opportunities available to the person; and

                     (d)  the family and caring responsibilities of the person; and

                     (e)  the length of travel time required for compliance with the agreement, by reference to what constitutes unreasonably difficult commuting for the purposes of paragraph 601(2A)(g); and

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

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

[factors for compliance]

(18)   Schedule 1, page 20 (after line 13), after item 21, insert:

21B  Paragraph 544B(5)(a)

A fter “varied”, insert “(in negotiation with the person)”.

[variation of agreement]

(19)   Schedule 1, page 20 (after line 13), after item 21A, insert:

21C  After subsection 544B(5)

I nsert:

Cooling off period

          (5A)  Within 14 days of the terms of the agreement being approved, those terms may be varied by the person with the approval of the Secretary.

Requirement to notify

          (5B)  The Secretary must advise the person in writing of the effect of subsection (5A).

Avoidance of doubt

          (5C)  To avoid doubt, subsection (5A) does not prevent the person at any time from requesting a review of an agreement under paragraph (5)(c).

[cooling-off period]

(20)   Schedule 1, page 20 (after line 25), after item 24, insert:

24A  Subparagraph 544C(1)(b)(iii)

A fter “agree to” insert “the reasonable”.

[terms of agreement]

(21)   Schedule 1, page 20 (before line 26), before item 25, insert:

24B  Subsection 550C(2)

R epeal the subsection, substitute:

General rule

             (2)  Subject to subsection (3) and to sections 550D and 550E, the activity test non-payment period starts on the 14 th day after the day on which the notice is given to the person.

[requirement for notice]

(22)   Schedule 1, page 20 (after line 30), after item 26, insert:

26A  Subsection 557B(2)

Re peal the subsection, substitute:

General rule

             (2)  Subject to subsection (3) and to section 557C, the activity test breach rate reduction period starts on the 14 th day after the day on which the notice is given to the person.

26B  Subsection 558B(2)

R epeal the subsection, substitute:

General rule

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

[requirement for notice]

(23)   Schedule 1, page 20 (before line 30), before item 27, insert:

26C  After subsection 593(2A)

I nsert:

          (2B)  The Secretary must not determine that a person has failed to take reasonable steps to comply with the terms of a Newstart Activity Agreement unless the Secretary:

                     (a)  is satisfied that the terms of the agreement were intended to assist the person over time in gaining employment or undertaking study or training; and

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

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

                     (d)  has confirmed the adequacy of the support that the Secretary agreed to provide under the agreement.

[factors to consider before determining failure to comply]

(24)   Schedule 1, page 21 (after line 11), after item 30, insert:

30A  Subsection 630B(2)

R epeal the subsection, substitute:

             (2)  Subject to subsection (3) and (6) and to sections 630BA and 630BB, the activity test non-payment period starts on the 14 th day after the day on which the notice is given to the person.

[requirement for notice]

(25)   Schedule 1, page 21 (after line 28), after item 34, insert:

34A  Subsection 644AB(2)

Re peal the subsection, substitute:

             (2)  Subject to section 644AC, the activity test breach rate reduction period starts on the 14 th day after the day on which the notice is given to the person.

34B  Subsection 644C(2)

Re peal the subsection, substitute:

             (2)  Subject to subsections (3) and (6), the administrative breach rate reduction period starts on the 14 th day after the day on which the notice is given to the person.

[requirement for notice]

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

11A  After subsection 606(1)

I nsert:

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

       (1AC)  Subsection (1A) does not apply unless the person has been receiving an income support payment for a continuous period of at least 9 months and the person satisfies the Secretary that the person has no recent workforce experience.

[number of job vacancies]

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

11B  Subsection 606(4)

Re peal the subsection, substitute:

             (4)  In having regard to a person’s capacity to comply with an agreement, the Secretary is to take into account, but is not limited to the following matters:

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

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

                     (c)  the participation opportunities available to the person; and

                     (d)  the family and caring responsibilities of the person; and

                     (e)  the length of travel time required for compliance with the agreement, by reference to what constitutes unreasonably difficult commuting for the purposes of paragraph 601(2A)(g); and

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

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

[factors for compliance]

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

11C  Paragraph 606(5)(a)

Af ter “varied”, insert “(in negotiation with the person)”.

[variation of agreement

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

11D  After subsection 606(5)

I nsert:

          (5A)  Within 14 days of the terms of the agreement being approved, those terms may be varied by the person with the approval of the Secretary.

          (5B)  The Secretary must advise the person in writing of the effect of subsection (5A).

          (5C)  To avoid doubt, subsection (5A) does not prevent the person at any time from requesting a review of an agreement under paragraph (5)(c).

[cooling-off period]

(30) Schedule 5, page 45 (before line 30), before item 12, insert:

11E  Subparagraph 607(1)(iii)

A fter “agree to”, insert “the reasonable”.

[terms of agreement]