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Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2015



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ISSN 1328-8091

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BILLS DIGEST NO. 65, 2015-16 19 JANUARY 2016

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2015 Michael Klapdor Social Policy Section This Bills Digest should be read in conjunction with the Bills Digest for the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015.

Contents

History of the Bill ................................................................. 2

Purpose of the Bill ............................................................... 2

Background ......................................................................... 3

Committee consideration .................................................... 3

Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee .................. 3

Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills .............. 4

Policy position of non-government parties/independents ..... 4

Position of major interest groups ......................................... 4

Financial implications .......................................................... 5

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights .................... 5

Key issues and provisions..................................................... 6

Schedule 2—Family Tax Benefit Part B rate ............................ 6

Provisions .............................................................................. 7

Concluding comments ......................................................... 8

Date introduced: 2 December 2015

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Social Services

Commencement: Schedule 1 and Part 3 of Schedule 3 on 1 July 2018; Schedule 2 and Part 1 of Schedule 3 on 1 July 2016; Part 2 of Schedule 3 on 1 July 2017; and remaining sections on Royal Assent.

Links: The links to the Bill, its Explanatory Memorandum and second reading speech can be found on the Bill’s home page, or through the Australian Parliament website.

When Bills have been passed and have received Royal Assent, they become Acts, which can be found at the ComLaw website.

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History of the Bill The Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2015 (the No. 2 Bill) proposes measures similar to those previously proposed in the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015 (the previous Bill).1 The Government moved amendments to the previous Bill in the House of Representatives to remove a number of measures in order to secure passage of the Bill through the Senate.2 The measures removed from the previous Bill are now proposed in the No. 2 Bill with some important differences in the provisions.

The measures presented in the previous Bill, as introduced, were intended as replacement savings measures for changes to Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB-A) and Family Tax Benefit Part B (FTB-B) first proposed in the Coalition Government’s 2014-15 Budget.3 The 2014-15 Budget measures included proposals to:

• limit FTB-B to families with a child under six years

• introduce a new FTB allowance for single parents on maximum rate of FTB-A who have a child aged six to twelve years, worth $750 per child, to partially makeup for the loss of access to FTB-B and

• reduce the FTB-A and FTB-B supplements to their 2004 values ($600 per FTB-A child and $300 per FTB-B family).4

The Government twice attempted to legislate these measures but was unable to gain enough support in the Senate.5 In October 2015, the measures presented in the previous Bill (and now the No. 2 Bill) were announced, with the Minister for Social Services stating they would ‘supersede measures’ stalled in the Senate.6 Treasurer Scott Morrison stated that, as Minister for Social Services, he had worked with ‘crossbench senators over many, many months to reengineer the measures that have been put forward in the 14-15 Budget’.7

Purpose of the Bill The No. 2 Bill amends the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (the FA Act), the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 and the Social Security Act 1991 (the SS Act) to:

• from 1 July 2018, increase the fortnightly rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB-A) by $10.08 and increase by $10.44 per fortnight the rate of Youth Allowance for those aged under 18 and living at home, and the rates of Disability Support Pension (DSP) paid to a single recipient aged under 18 who is living in their parent’s home due to a medical condition (as well as some related payment rates)

• from 1 July 2016:

- increase the standard rate of Family Tax Benefit Part B (FTB-B) by $1000.10 per year for families whose youngest child is aged under one

1. Parliament of Australia, ‘Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2015 homepage’, Australian Parliament website; Parliament of Australia, ‘Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015 homepage’, Australian Parliament website, both accessed 14 December 2015.

2. C Porter (Minister for Social Services), ‘Second reading speech: Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015’, House of Representatives, Debates, 26 November 2015, p. 13860, accessed 14 January 2016. 3. Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB-A) and Family Tax Benefit Part B (FTB-B) are the two main forms of direct financial assistance the Commonwealth provides to families with children. Both payments are means tested to target assistance at lower-income families. FTB-A is

available to all families who meet the care, residence and income test requirements. Different income test requirements for FTB-B restrict the payment to single parent families and couple families where one parent has a low income or is not in paid employment. Department of Human Services (DHS), ‘Family Tax Benefit’, DHS website, last updated 14 October 2015, accessed 17 December 2015. 4. P Yeend and M Klapdor, ‘Family payments’, Budget review 2014-15, Research paper series, 2013-14, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 2015, accessed 17 December 2015. 5. Firstly, via the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014 and, secondly, via the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 4) Bill 2014. See ‘Background’ in M Klapdor, Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015, Bills digest, 50, 2015-16, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 18 November 2015, pp. 4-6, accessed 15 December 2015. 6. C Porter (Minister for Social Services), ‘Second reading speech: Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015’, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 October 2015, p. 11919, accessed 17 December 2015. 7. S Morrison (Treasurer), C Porter (Minister for Social Services), S Birmingham (Minister for Education and Training), Transcript of joint press conference: Canberra, media release, 21 October 2015, accessed 17 December 2015.

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- reduce the rate of FTB-B for single parents with a youngest child aged 13-16 to $1000.10 per annum (from the 2015-16 rate of $2,784.95 per annum)—single parents aged at least 60 years and grandparent or great-grandparent carers are exempt from this measure and

- remove FTB-B for single parents with a youngest child aged 17 or 18—single parents aged at least 60 years and grandparent or great-grandparent carers are also exempt from this measure and • phase out the FTB-A and FTB-B supplements by:

- reducing the FTB-A supplement from the 2015-16 rate of $726.35 per child to $602.25 for 2016-17, to $302.95 for 2017-18 and removing the supplement from 1 July 2018 and - reducing the FTB-B supplement from the 2015-16 rate of $354.05 per family to $302.95 for 2016-17, to $153.30 for 2017-18 and removing the supplement from 1 July 2018. The previous Bill, as amended, removed FTB-B for couple families whose youngest child was aged 13 years or above (with grandparent and great-grandparent carers exempt). The previous Bill had originally included the measures above but with a number of important differences:

• single parents aged 60 years or above were not exempt from the FTB-B rate reduction measure, only grandparent carers

• grandparent carer couple families with a youngest child aged 13-16 in receipt of FTB-B were to have their maximum rate reduced to $1000.10 per annum and

• FTB-B was to be removed for all family-types with a youngest child aged 17 or 18.

Background Background to these measures is available in the Bills Digest for the previous Bill.8

After the Opposition announced that it would only support one measure in the previous Bill, to remove FTB-B for couple families (other than grandparent carers) with a youngest child aged 13 or over, and would oppose all remaining measures in the Bill, the Government moved to ‘amend the existing Bill down to simply that portion with which the Opposition agrees’.9 The Greens opposed the previous Bill in full and criticised Labor for supporting the changes to FTB-B for couple families.10 The previous Bill, as amended, was passed by the Parliament on 30 November 2015 and received Royal Assent on 11 December 2015.11

Committee consideration Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee The No. 2 Bill has been referred to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 1 March 2016. Details of the inquiry are on the Committee website.12

The Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee held an inquiry into the previous Bill.13 The report of the Committee, chaired by Liberal Party Senator Zed Seselja, recommended that the Bill be passed.14 Australian Labor Party Senators Carol Brown, Katy Gallagher and Claire Moore issued a dissenting report recommending

8. M Klapdor, Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015, op. cit. 9. B Shorten (Leader of the Opposition), C Bowen (Shadow Treasurer) and J Macklin (Shadow Minister for Families and Payments), Turnbull’s big fail on fairness for families, media release, 10 November 2015, pp. 1-2, accessed 15 December 2015; C Porter (Minister for Social Services), ‘Second reading speech: Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015’,

House of Representatives, Debates, 26 November 2015, op. cit. 10. R Di Natale and R Siewert, Government and Labor must abandon watered down cuts to FTB B that will hurt low income families, media release, 11 November 2015, accessed 16 December 2015. 11. Parliament of Australia, ‘Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015

homepage’, op. cit. 12. Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2015, The Senate, Canberra, accessed 16 December 2015. 13. Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform

and Participation Measures) Bill 2015, The Senate, Canberra, accessed 16 December 2015. 14. Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015 [Provisions], The Senate, Canberra, 30 November 2015, p. ix, accessed 12 January 2016.

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the previous Bill not be passed in its form as introduced.15 The Labor senators recommended the Bill be amended to remove all measures except the changes to FTB-B for couple parents (excluding grandparent and great-grandparent carers).16 Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert also issued a dissenting report which recommended the previous Bill not be passed (in either the original or amended form).17

Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills The Senate Scrutiny of Bills Committee is yet to comment on the No. 2 Bill. The Committee had no comment on the previous Bill.18

Policy position of non-government parties/independents The Opposition and Australian Greens have stated that they remain opposed to the measures in the No. 2 Bill. Shadow Minister for Families and Payments Jenny Macklin described the measures as ‘savage cuts to Family Tax Benefits’.19 Australian Greens spokesperson on families, Rachel Siewert, described the measures as ‘poor policy’:

The Government has hacked up an awful Bill, got parts of it through with the help of Labor, and will now attempt to get the rest through with the help of the crossbench … The Australian Greens will oppose budgetary measures that attack struggling low income families. 20

Minister for Social Services Christian Porter has indicated that he is negotiating with crossbench senators and was willing to compromise on some measures in order to secure passage of the main savings measures: ‘I’ve spoken to the crossbench, and I’m not suggesting they’re all wildly supportive … We’re willing to compromise, but we still have to save enough money to pay for changes to childcare’.21

Position of major interest groups The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) stated in its submission to the Senate Committee inquiry into the previous Bill that ‘it will affect those on the lowest incomes the most, including single parents and low income couple households’ and that ‘the numbers affected and the extent of the income losses mean that the changes are likely to lead to an increase in child poverty, noting child poverty is already concentrated in single parent families’.22 ACOSS rejected the Bill as introduced.23

The National Welfare Rights Network (NWRN) was also critical of the measures proposed in the previous Bill (and now in the No. 2 Bill). In its submission to the Committee inquiry on the previous Bill, the NWRN stated:

The NWRN supports genuine reform of the family payments system and measures to increase workforce participation rates. But the Bill fails to address this issue other than by reducing payment rates and eligibility in a way that affects low-income families the most. The starting point must remain adequacy for families and children, as a matter of our community’s responsibility to ensure that all children get a basic acceptable standard of living, regardless of their parents’ circumstances. The Bill fails this moral and fairness test.

24

15. Australian Labor Party Senators, Dissenting report, Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015 [Provisions], The Senate, Canberra, 30 November 2015, p. 25, accessed 12 January 2016.

16. Ibid.

17. Australian Greens Senators, Dissenting report, Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015 [Provisions], The Senate, Canberra, 30 November 2015, p. 27, accessed 12 January 2016. 18. Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills, Alert digest, 12, 2015, The Senate, 11 November 2015, p. 21, accessed 12 January 2016. 19. J Macklin (Shadow Minister for Families and Payments), Turnbull’s Christmas present to families: more cuts, media release, 2 December 2015,

accessed 18 December 2015. 20. R Siewert, Family payment cuts are still poor policy, media release, 2 December 2015, accessed 18 December 2015. 21. C Porter (Minister for Social Services) quoted in S Medhora, ‘Coalition willing to further compromise on changes to family tax benefits’,

The Guardian, (online edition), 1 December 2015, accessed 18 December 2015. 22. Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), Submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015, 18 November 2015, p. 4, accessed

18 December 2015. 23. Ibid., p. 1. 24. National Welfare Rights Network (NWRN), Submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, Inquiry into the Social Services

Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015, 2015, [p. 5], accessed 18 December 2015.

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The Secretariat National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care criticised the financial impact the Bill would have, particularly on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, stating in its submission to the same inquiry:

A Bill of this nature that negatively impacts parents and carers on the lowest incomes, including single parents and grandparent carers, will undermine efforts across government to address disparities in developmental, educational and later life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. 25

Specific issues raised by these and other interest groups were examined in the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee’s report on the previous Bill.26

Financial implications According to the Explanatory Memorandum, the No. 2 Bill will provide net savings of around $4.3 billion over the forward estimates.27 This consists of:

• a cost of $584.2 million to increase FTB-A rates and the rates of some income support payments for young people

• a saving of $781.1 million from changing payment rates of FTB-B and

• a saving of $4,063.9 million from phasing out the FTB-A and FTB-B supplements.28

The previous Bill, as introduced, was expected to provide net savings of $4.8 billion over the forward estimates.29 The previous Bill, as amended, was expected to provide a saving of $525.5 million of the forward estimates. The changes to the measure affecting FTB-B rates, as proposed in the No. 2 Bill, have reduced the expected savings by around $54.2 million.

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights As required under Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth), the Government has assessed the No. 2 Bill’s compatibility with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of that Act. The Government considers that the Bill is compatible.30

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights (PJCHR) has not yet reported on the Bill.

The PJCHR did comment on the previous Bill and was critical of the explanation provided in that Bill’s Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights for the limitations the measures would place on the right to social security and the right to an adequate standard of living (articles 9 and 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).31 In regards to justification given for the changes to the payment rates of FTB-B, the PJCHR was critical of the lack of evidence provided by the Government:

No information is provided as to the impact of these changes on families and how those families will meet their living expenses with the reduced rates of FTB Part B or how the measures have been targeted to avoid undue economic hardship. No information is provided as to why the changes to FTB Part B are structured around the age of the child and not the income of the family. Accordingly, no information is provided as to how the measure is the least rights restrictive way of achieving a legitimate objective.

32

25. Secretariat National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care, Submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015, 20 November 2015, [p. 2], accessed 18 December 2015.

26. Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee, Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015 [Provisions], The Senate, Canberra, 30 November 2015, accessed 18 December 2015. 27. Explanatory Memorandum, Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2015, p. 2, accessed 16 December 2015. 28. Ibid.

29. Explanatory Memorandum, Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015, p. 1, accessed 18 December 2015. 30. The Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights can be found at page 12 of the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill. 31. Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, Thirtieth report of the 44th Parliament, 10 November 2015, pp. 53-60, accessed 18 January

2016.

32. Ibid., p. 55.

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Similar criticisms were made by the PJCHR in regards to the justification provided in the statement of compatibility for the removal of the FTB supplements.33

In regards to both measures, the PJCHR sought the advice of the Minister for Social Services as to:

- whether there is reasoning or evidence that establishes that the stated objective addresses a pressing or substantial concern or whether the proposed changes are otherwise aimed at achieving a legitimate objective;

- whether there is a rational connection between the limitation and that objective; and

- whether the limitation is a reasonable and proportionate measure for the achievement of that objective. 34

At the time of publishing this Digest, the Committee has not published any response from the Minister.

Key issues and provisions For analysis of the key issues see the Bills Digest for the previous Bill.35

The following provides a brief summary of the differences between Schedule 2 of the previous Bill and Schedule 2 of the No. 2 Bill. The provisions in Schedule 1 (increasing FTB-A and some youth payment rates) and Schedule 3 (phasing out the FTB-A and FTB-B supplements) of the No. 2 Bill are identical to those in the previous Bill.

Schedule 2—Family Tax Benefit Part B rate Table 1 sets out the measures proposed in Schedule 2 of the previous Bill and whether they were passed, reintroduced in the No. 2 Bill, or amended.

33. Ibid., pp. 57-60. 34. Ibid., pp. 55-57, 59-60. 35. M Klapdor, Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015, op. cit.

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Table 1: Status of measures proposed in Schedule 2 of the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015 (the previous Bill)

Schedule 2 of the previous Bill Current status

Increase the standard rate of FTB-B by $1000.10 per annum for families whose youngest child is aged under one.

Removed from the previous Bill and reintroduced in the No. 2 Bill unchanged.

Reduce the rate of FTB-B for single parents with a youngest child aged 13-16 to $1000.10 per annum and remove FTB-B in respect of children aged 17- 18.

Removed from the previous Bill and reintroduced in the No. 2 Bill but single parents aged 60+, grandparent carers and great-grandparent carers are exempt from the rate reduction.

Reduce the rate of FTB-B for grandparent carer couples with a youngest child in their care aged 13- 16 to $1000.10 per annum and remove FTB-B in respect of children aged 17-18.

Removed from the previous Bill and not reintroduced.

Remove FTB-B for couple families (other than grandparent carers) with a youngest child aged 13 or over.

Passed with amendments to also exempt great-grandparent carers.

Source: Parliament of Australia, ‘Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015’, Australian Parliament website; Parliament of Australia, ‘Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2015’, Australian Parliament website, both accessed 14 December 2015.

The changes between the two Bills essentially exclude older parents and carers from the FTB-B rate reductions. The Minister for Social Services stated that these older parents and carers ‘may have limited capacity to increase workforce participation’ and thus offset their loss of family assistance with employment income.36 A similar argument was made for the measure in the previous Bill that reduced the FTB-B rate for grandparent carer couples.37

The majority of single parents in receipt of FTB-B with older children will still have their FTB-B rate reduced (around 3.6 per cent of all FTB-B recipients (singles and couples) are aged 55 or older).38

Provisions Item 1 of Schedule 2 inserts new subparagraphs 22B(1)(a)(ia) and (ib) into the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (FA Act) so that FTB-B will no longer be payable in respect of a secondary school child aged 17 or 18 unless their parent/carer is a single person aged at least 60 years of age or the grandparent or great-grandparent of the child.39

Currently, for a parent/carer to be eligible for FTB-B in respect of a child aged 16 or over, the child must meet the definition of secondary school child at section 22B of the FA Act. This definition currently allows FTB-B to be paid in respect of children aged 16, 17 or 18 (where the calendar year in which the child turned 18 has not ended) if they meet the schooling requirements (also set out at section 22B). The new subparagraphs will amend the definition of secondary school child for the purposes of calculating a person’s FTB-B rate so that it only applies to children aged 16 (where the calendar year in which the child turned 16 has not ended) who meet the schooling requirements unless the person is a single person aged at least 60 years of age or the grandparent or great-grandparent of the child (in which case the current definition will continue to apply). Older children will still meet the definition of secondary school child for the purposes of other sections of the FA Act (for example, for the purposes of calculating FTB-A rates) due to consequential amendments by items 2 and 3.

36. C Porter (Minister for Social Services), ‘Second reading speech: Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2015’, House of Representatives, Debates, 2 December 2015, p. 14428, accessed 15 January 2016. 37. C Porter, ‘Second reading speech: Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015’, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 October 2015, op. cit. 38. Department of Social Services (DSS), ‘DSS demographic June 2015’, data.gov.au website, last updated 15 October 2015, accessed

17 December 2015. 39. A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999, accessed 15 January 2016.

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Item 7 repeals and inserts a new table at clause 30 of Schedule 1 of the FA Act setting out the standard rates of FTB-B depending on different family situations. The current clause sets out two rates based on the age of the youngest child: under five years (currently $152.88 per fortnight) and five to 15 plus those who meet the secondary school child definition aged up to 18 (currently $106.82 per fortnight). The proposed table sets out five rate categories and subclauses 30(2), (3) and (4) set out the amounts that apply to the first four categories:

1. youngest child aged under one year: the current under five years rate, as if it were indexed on 1 July 2016 under the current indexation rules (in line with movements in the Consumer Price Index (CPI)), plus $1000.10

2. youngest child aged at least one year but less than five years: the current under five years rate, as if it were indexed under the current indexation rules

3. youngest child aged at least five years but less than 13 years: the current over five years rate, as if it were indexed under the current indexation rules

4. youngest child aged at least 13 years and the parent/carer is either single and aged at least 60 years or is a grandparent/great-grandparent of the child: the current over five years rate, as if it were indexed under the current indexation rules

5. youngest child aged at least 13 years of age but less than 17 years of age where the parent/carer is not single and aged at least 60 or a grandparent/great-grandparent of the child: a standard rate of $1000.10.

The rates worked out according to the above formula are to be indexed on 1 July 2017 (as explained in the application provisions at item 11). This means for example, that the rate for a child under one year that will be adjusted on 1 July 2017 in line with CPI movements will be the current rate, as if it were indexed on 1 July 2016 plus $1000.10. That is, the additional $1000.10 amount will be included in the total to be indexed on 1 July 2017.

Concluding comments As noted in the Bills Digest for the previous Bill, the Government has attempted to present a more palatable range of FTB savings measures than those contained in Bills stalled before the Senate. Rather than stop FTB-B payments to eligible families when their youngest child turns six, changes in the previous Bill cut off the payment for couple families when the youngest child turns 13. Changes in the No. 2 Bill mean that single parents with a youngest aged child 13 or above will receive a reduced rate until their youngest turns 17 while certain older parents/carers will be unaffected.

To offset the lost savings from this relatively softer approach (compared to the measures in the 2014-15 Budget), this Bill proposes to completely phase out the end-of-year supplement amounts. Despite the small increase in the fortnightly rate of FTB-A, the loss of the supplements constitutes an overall reduction in the rates of both FTB-A and FTB-B.

The new savings proposals spread the financial impact on a broader group of family assistance recipients than those proposed in the 2014-15 Budget. Vulnerable groups such as single parents still face a significant loss of income and a much larger group of families now face the loss of thousands of dollars in financial assistance from the Government.

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