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Veterans' Entitlements Amendment (Electronic Delivery) Bill 2004

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2002 - 2003 - 2004

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VETERANS’ ENTITLEMENTS AMENDMENT (ELECTRONIC DELIVERY) BILL 2004

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs,

The Honourable Danna Vale MP)

 





Table of Contents

 

 

 
Outline and Financial Impact ……………………………………………             ii

 

            1          Short Title…………………………………………………….   iii

            2          Commencement………………………………………………   iii

            3          Schedule(s)…………………………………………………...          iii

 

 

 

Schedule 1 -   Amendments concerning electronic lodgment                                1

 

 



OUTLINE AND FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

 

Schedule 1 -   Amendments concerning electronic lodgment

 

Outline

 

These amendments to the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 will provide for the electronic communication of claims, applications and other documents to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

 

Date of Effect

 

The amendments are to commence on a date to be fixed by Proclamation.  In default of Proclamation within 6 months of the day on which the Act receives Royal Assent, the amendments will commence on the day following the end of the 6 month period.

 

Financial Impact

 

No financial impact.

 

 



 

Clauses

 

 
Short Title

 

Clause 1 sets out how the Act is to be cited.

 

 
Commencement

 

Clause 2 sets out the commencement date of the provisions in the Act.

 

 

Schedule(s)

 

Clause 3 provides that the Act specified in Schedule 1 to this Act is amended as set out in the items of that Schedule.

 



SCHEDULE 1

 

Amendments concerning electronic lodgment

 

Overview

 

These amendments to the VEA will provide for the electronic communication of claims, applications and other documents to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

 

Background

 

In December 1997 the Prime Minister released the “Investing for Growth” Policy Statement which outlined the Australian Government’s commitment to putting all appropriate Government services on-line.

 

As part of the Government’s commitment to putting its services on-line the Electronics Transactions Act 1999 (ETA) was passed.  The stated purpose of the ETA was to facilitate the “development of electronic commerce in Australia by broadly removing (the) existing legal impediments that may prevent a person using electronic communications to satisfy obligations under Commonwealth law”.

 

The Explanatory Memorandum stated that the purpose of the ETA was to establish the basic rule that “a transaction is not invalid because it took place by means of an electronic communication”.  It further stated that the ETA contained “specific provisions which state that a requirement or permission under a law of the Commonwealth for a person to provide information in writing, to sign a document, to produce a document or to retain information or a document can be satisfied by an electronic communication, subject to certain minimum criteria being satisfied”.

 

The ETA had a two-step implementation process.  Prior to 1 July 2001 the ETA only applied to those laws of the Commonwealth that were specified in the Regulations.  After that date the ETA was to apply to all laws of the Commonwealth unless they had been specifically excluded from the application of the ETA.

 

The ETA contains a limited number of exemptions that relate mainly to matters concerning immigration.  The Regulations also provide for a series of exemptions to various acts.

 

In February 2001 the Repatriation Commission advised the Minister that certain provisions of the VEA would require exemption from the effects of the Electronic Transactions Act 1999 .  The exemptions entitle the Department of Veterans’ Affairs not to accept claims delivered to the Department electronically.

 

It was intended that the exemptions would be reviewed and repealed as the procedures for the delivery of electronic claims and documents were developed.  It was also intended that the appropriate amendments to the VEA would be made to provide for the electronic communication of claims, applications and other documents.



 

Explanation of the Changes

 

These amendments to the VEA are designed to achieve two purposes; the unification of all the existing lodgment provisions in the VEA and to allow for both the electronic and physical delivery of documents into the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

 

The general lodgment provision of the VEA is section 5T.  Item 1 of the amendments repeals section 5T which does not provide for the electronic delivery of documents into the Department and inserts a new section 5T which will be applicable to both the physical and electronic lodgment of documents into the Department.

 

Amendments to Section 5T

 

Repealed section 5T had provided that for a claim, application or other document to be lodged, it must have been sent to the Department at an approved address or delivered to a designated person.  The importance attached to the date of lodgment is that it is central to the determination and payment of entitlements under the VEA.

 

The need for the amendments to the VEA to specifically deal with the electronic delivery of documents is due to the importance placed by the VEA on the date of the lodgment of a document.  It is this unique feature of the VEA that requires specific amendments to provide that an electronic document that has been sent to the Department but not received at an approved electronic address will not be regarded as having been lodged.

 

New section 5T provides the Repatriation Commission with broad powers to determine the methods by which information is to be lodged with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  The section is only applicable to the lodgment of claims, applications, requests and other documents under the VEA and will not apply to any other information that is received into the Department.

 

Information provided to the Department by telephone will not be subject to the provisions of new section 5T.  The VEA contains a number of provisions that refer to the oral communication of information in response to a notice issued by the Department.  Other provisions allow for the oral withdrawal of various written applications.

 

The amendments to section 5T and to the lodgment and delivery provisions will not prevent the oral communication of information or the withdrawal of an application where the facility to do so was present in the existing provisions.

 

Amendments providing for the electronic delivery of documents

 

Items 2 to 127 are the amendments to the lodgment and delivery provisions to provide for the electronic delivery of documents into the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

 

All of the lodgment and delivery provisions of the VEA have been amended to enable the electronic communication of all claims, applications and other documents.  The amendments will also bring conformity to all of the lodgment and delivery provisions.

 

The amendments repeal the existing individual lodgment provisions that apply to the various claims, applications and other documents that are lodged under the VEA and insert new provisions that make both the physical and electronic lodgment of documents subject the provisions of section 5T.

 

Explanation of the Items

 

Item 1 repeals and replaces section 5T.  Section 5T is applicable to the lodgment of claims, applications and other documents for the purposes of the VEA.  Section 5T provides that for a claim, application or other document to be validly lodged, it must be sent to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs at an approved address or delivered to a designated person.

 

The date a document is validly lodged determines the date the Department is taken to have received it.  This date may affect a person in a variety of ways, including the date from which their pension commences, whether the person has a right of review and the date their pension rate is increased or reduced.

 

For a document to be regarded as having been lodged it must be received by “an office of the Department in Australia”.  The Repatriation Commission has the power to determine that any place within Australia or overseas is to be regarded as “an office of the Department in Australia”.

 

It also has the power to determine that the delivery of the document to a person approved to receive the document will also be regarded as the lodgment of the document at “an office of the Department in Australia”.  It is the receipt of the document “at an office of the Department in Australia” that makes a lodgment effective.  The claim that a document has been posted or sent to the Department will be insufficient in meeting that requirement.

 

New section 5T will be the predominant lodgment provision and will also apply to any future amendments to the VEA that require the making of a claim, application or the delivery of a document.  The repealed provision had been a general lodgment provision.  New section 5T is broken into seven subsections.

 

Subsection 5T(1) provides that section 5T will regulate the lodgment of all claims, applications, requests and other documents under the VEA.

 

A note to subsection 5T(1) will however inform the reader that various statutory bodies that have been created under the VEA, the Veterans’ Review Board, the Repatriation Medical Authority and the Specialist Medical Review Council will each have the power to determine their own lodgment provisions.

 

Subsection 5T(2) will be applicable to the physical lodgment of documents into the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  The physical lodgment of a document comprises two actions, the lodgment of the document at a place or with a person and the receipt of the document at a particular place or by a particular person.

 

Subsection 5T(2) provides that a claim, application, request or other document will be taken to have been lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs if it is lodged at a place approved by the Repatriation Commission for the purposes of the subsection or delivered to a person approved by the Repatriation Commission for the purposes of subsection 5T(2).  The document received at that place or by that person will be taken to have been lodged on the day that it has been received.

 

The provision implies that the Repatriation Commission has the power to determine that any place within Australia or overseas is to be regarded as an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.  It also has the power to determine that the delivery of the document to a person approved to receive the document will also be regarded as the lodgment of the document at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

Subsection 5T(3) will be applicable to the electronic lodgment of documents for which approval has been given by the Repatriation Commission for electronic transmission into the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.  The electronic lodgment of a document requires two events, the electronic lodgment of a document at a place or with a person and the receipt of the document at a particular place or by a particular person.

 

Subsection 5T(3) provides that a claim, application, request or other document that has been approved for electronic lodgment will be taken to have been lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs if it transmitted electronically in a manner approved by the Repatriation Commission to an electronic address approved by the Repatriation Commission.  The document received at that electronic address will be taken to have been lodged on the day that it has been received.

 

Subsection 5T(4) provides that claims, applications, requests and other documents that have transmitted electronically other than in a manner approved by the Repatriation Commission or to an electronic address that has not been approved will be treated as not having been validly lodged.

 

Subsection 5T(5) confirms the power of the Repatriation Commission to determine that any place within Australia or overseas is to be regarded as an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia for the purposes of lodging documents in accordance with subsection 5T(2).

 

Subsection 5T(6) confirms that claims, applications and requests will be taken to have been made, for the purposes of subsections 5T(2) and (3) on the day on which they have been lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

Subsection 5T(7) provides that a notice or similar document will be taken to have been given, for the purposes of subsections 5T(2) and (3) on the day on which it has been lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

Subsection 5T(8) is applicable to the lodgment of any documents or materials that are required to support a claim, application, request or other document required under the Act.  Subsection 5T(8) provides that supporting documents may either be lodged in the same manner as the claim, application, request or other document to which they relate or may in the circumstances where the documents or material is such that it would not be appropriate for it to be lodged in the same manner, be lodged in such other manner as approved by the Repatriation Commission.

 

Item 2 repeals and substitutes paragraph 13AC(c).  Section 13AC sets out the requirements for a verification determination that a person is a “reinstated pensioner”.  A “reinstated pensioner” will be eligible for a war widow’s pension that had previously been cancelled due to the marriage or re-marriage of the widow.

 

Repealed paragraph 13AC(c) had provided that an application for a verification determination could be forwarded to or delivered to an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

New paragraph 13AC(c) provides that an application for a verification determination is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T and will be taken as having been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 3 repeals section 13AD.  Repealed section 13AD had provided the requirements for an application for a verification determination to be regarded as a proper application.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amendments to sections 5T and 13AC.

 

Item 4 repeals and substitutes paragraph 14(3)(c).  Section 14 sets out the requirements for a claim for a disability pension.

 

Repealed paragraph 14(3)( c) had provided that a claim for a disability pension was to be made by forwarding the claim and the relevant evidence to or delivering the claim and the evidence to an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

New paragraph 14(3)(c) provides that the claim for a disability pension and the relevant evidence is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new paragraph also provides that the lodged claim will be taken as having been made on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Item 5 repeals and substitutes paragraph 15(3)(c). Section 15 sets out the requirements for an application for an increase in the rate of disability pension.

 

Repealed paragraph 15(3)(c) had provided that an application for an increase in the rate of disability pension was to be made by forwarding the application and the relevant evidence to or delivering the application and the evidence to an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

New paragraph 15(3)(c) provides that the application for an increase in the rate of disability pension and the relevant evidence is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new paragraph also provides that the lodged application will be taken as having been made on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Item 6 amends section 33.  Section 33 provides for the withdrawal of either a claim for a disability pension or the withdrawal of an application for an increase in the rate of disability pension.

 

Subsection 33(1) in referring to the withdrawal of the claim or application is amended by the omission of the words “forwarded to the Secretary at an office of the Department in Australia” and the substitution of the words “lodged in accordance with section 5T”.

 

Item 7 inserts new paragraph 35D(1)(d) and new subsection 35D(2).  Section 35D sets out the requirements as to the form of a proper claim for a determination that a veteran has rendered qualifying service.

 

A veteran with qualifying service will be eligible for a service pension and other benefits under the VEA.

 

New paragraph 35D(1)(d) provides that a proper claim for a determination that a veteran has rendered qualifying service is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 35D(2) provides that a claim for a determination that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 8 repeals section 35E.  Repealed section 35E had provided the requirements for the lodgment of a proper claim for a determination that a veteran has rendered qualifying service.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 35D.

 

Item 9 repeals and substitutes subsection 35F(3).  Section 35F refers to the withdrawal of a claim for a determination that the veteran had rendered qualifying service.

 

Repealed subsection 35F(3) had provided that the withdrawal of a claim for a determination could be made orally or in writing.

 

New subsection 35F(3) provides that withdrawal of a claim for a determination that a veteran has rendered qualifying service may be made either:

 

·          orally, as previously provided for in the repealed subsection; or

·          by a document lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

Item 10 repeals section 35FA.  Repealed section 35FA had provided that a written withdrawal of a claim for a determination that a veteran had rendered qualifying service must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 35F.

 

Items 11 and 12 insert new paragraph 36F(1)(d) and new subsection 36F(3).  Section 36F sets out the requirements as to the form of a proper claim by a veteran for an age service pension.

 

New paragraph 36F(1)(d) provides that the claim must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 36F(3) provides that a claim for an age service pension that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 13 repeals section 36G.  Section 36G had provided the requirements for the lodgment of a proper claim for an age service pension.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 36F.

 

Item 14 repeals and substitutes subsection 36J(3).  Section 36J refers to the withdrawal of a claim for an age service pension.

 

Repealed subsection 36J(3) had provided that the withdrawal of a claim for an age service pension could be made orally or in writing.

 

New subsection 36J(3) provides that the withdrawal of a claim for an age service pension may be made either:

 

·          orally, as previously provided for in the repealed subsection; or

·          by a document lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

Item 15 repeals section 36JA.  Repealed section 36JA had provided that a written withdrawal of a claim for an age service pension must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 36J.

 

Item 16 inserts new paragraph 37F(1)(d) and new subsection 37F(2). Section 37F sets out the requirements as to the form of a proper claim by a veteran for an invalidity service pension.

 

New paragraph 37F(1)(d) provides that the claim for an invalidity service pension must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 37F(2) provides that a claim for an invalidity service pension that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 17 repeals section 37G.  Section 37G had provided the requirements for the lodgment of a proper claim for an invalidity service pension.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 37F.

 

Item 18 repeals and substitutes subsection 37J(3). Section 37J refers to the withdrawal of a claim for an invalidity service pension.

 

Repealed subsection 37J(3) had provided that the withdrawal of a claim for an invalidity service pension could be made orally or in writing.

 

New subsection 37J(3) provides that the withdrawal of a claim for an invalidity service pension may be made either:

 

·          orally, as previously provided for in the repealed subsection; or

·          by a document lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

Item 19 repeals section 37JA.  Repealed section 37JA had provided that a written withdrawal of a claim for an invalidity service pension must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 37J.

 

Items 20 and 21 inserts new paragraph 38F(1)(d) and new subsection 38F(1A).  Section 38F sets out the requirements as to the form of a proper claim by the partner of a veteran for a partner service pension.

 

New paragraph 38F(1)(d) provides that the claim must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 38F(1A) provides that a claim for a partner service pension that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 22 repeals section 38G.  Section 38G had provided the requirements for the lodgment of a proper claim for a partner service pension.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 38F.

 

Item 23 repeals and substitutes subsection 38J(3).  Section 38J refers to the withdrawal of a claim for a partner service pension.

 

Repealed subsection 38J(3) had provided that the withdrawal of the claim for a partner service pension could be made orally or in writing.

 

New subsection 38J(3) provides that the withdrawal of a claim for a partner service pension may be made either:

 

·          orally, as previously provided for in the repealed subsection; or

·          by a document lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

Item 24 repeals section 38JA.  Repealed section 38JA had provided that a written withdrawal of a claim for a partner service pension must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 38J.

 

Items 25 and 26 insert new paragraph 45K(1)(d) and new subsection 45K(1A).  Section 45K sets out the requirements as to the form of a proper claim for the payment of the income support supplement to a war widow or widower.

 

New paragraph 45K(1)(d) provides that the claim must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 45K(1A) provides that a claim for the income support payment that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 27 repeals section 45L.  Section 45L had provided the requirements for the lodgment of a proper claim for the payment of an income support supplement.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 45K.

 

Item 28 repeals and substitutes subsection 45NA(3).  Section 45NA refers to the withdrawal of a claim for the payment of an income support supplement.

 

Repealed subsection 45NA(3) had provided that the withdrawal could be made orally or in writing.

 

New subsection 45NA(3) provides that the withdrawal of a claim for the payment of an income support supplement may be made either:

 

·          orally, as previously provided for in the repealed subsection; or

·          by a document lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

Item 29 repeals section 45NB.  Repealed section 45NB had provided that a written withdrawal of a claim for the payment of an income support supplement must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 45NA.

 

Item 30 repeals and substitutes section 45TE.  Section 45TE had provided that an application for registration as a member of the pension bonus scheme was to be in writing and in accordance with a form approved by the Repatriation Commission.

 

New subsection 45TE (1) provides that the application for registration must be in writing and in accordance with a form approved by the Repatriation Commission.  The subsection also requires the application to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 45TE(2) provides that an application for registration as a member of the pension bonus scheme that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 31 inserts a new saving provision that is applicable to any application for registration as a member of the pension bonus scheme that has not been dealt with at the time of the repeal of sections 45TE and 45TG.

 

The saving provision provides that an application that has not been dealt with and that complies with the provisions of the repealed sections 45TE and 45TG is to be dealt with as if it had been lodged in accordance with the requirements of new section 45TE.

 

Item 32 repeals section 45TG.  Section 45TG had provided the requirements for the lodgment of an application for registration as a member of the pension bonus scheme.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 45TE.

 

Items 33 to 37 amend section 45UK.  Section 45UK sets out the requirements for a proper claim by a person for a pension bonus.

 

Repealed paragraph 45UK(1)(c) had provided that a claim for the pension bonus could be made by either, in subparagraph (i), by being attached to a proper claim made by the person for a designated pension with both claims being lodged together, or as provided for in subparagraph (ii), the claim for a pension bonus could be made following an invitation under subsection 45UK(3) to submit the request for the bonus.

 

New subparagraph 45UK(1)(c)(i) provides that the claim for the pension bonus may either be attached to a claim for the designated pension or may be submitted with reference to a proper claim for the designated pension.  The new subparagraph covers a situation where claims are lodged electronically for both the designated pension and the pension bonus.  In such a case, the claims will not be physically attached to each other.  The new provision also applies in the circumstances where one of the claims is lodged electronically and the other claim is physically lodged at a place or delivered to a person for the purposes of lodgment.

 

Paragraph 45UK(1)(d) is repealed and substituted.  New paragraph 45UK(1)(d) provides that the claim for the pension bonus must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T within the applicable lodgment period provided for in section 45UL.

 

New subsection 45UK(1A) confirms that the claim for the pension bonus may only be attached to a claim for the designated pension in the circumstances referred to in subparagraph 45UK(1)(c)(i) if neither claim is transmitted electronically.

 

New subsection 45UK(1B) provides that a claim for the pension bonus that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Subsection 45UK(3) is amended by the omission of the words “the Secretary must give the claimant a written notice inviting the claimant to lodge a claim for the pension bonus:” and by repealing paragraphs 45UK(3)(e) and (f).

 

Subsection 45UK(3) is applicable when a registered member of the pension bonus scheme does not make a claim for payment of the pension bonus at the same time the designated pension is claimed.  However, it only applies if the claim form for the pension does not require the claimant to disclose whether he or she is a member of the pension bonus scheme.

 

The omitted words and the repealed paragraphs had provided that in those circumstances the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs was to give the member of the pension bonus scheme a written notice inviting the member to lodge a claim for the pension bonus.  The notice was to also specify the period in which and the place where the claim for the pension bonus was to be lodged.

 

The amendment to subsection 45UK(3) requires the Secretary, in these circumstances, to invite the claimant to submit a claim in accordance with section 5T, rather than at a place specified in the notice.

 

New subsection 45UK(3A) provides that a claim for pension bonus that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 38 repeals subsection 45UM(3) and substitutes new subsections 45UM(3) and (3A).  Section 45UM refers to the withdrawal of a claim for the payment of the pension bonus.

 

Repealed subsection 45UM(3) had provided that the withdrawal could be made orally or in writing.

 

New subsection 45UM(3) provides that the withdrawal of a claim for the payment of the pension bonus may be made either:

 

·          orally, as previously provided for in the repealed subsection; or

·          by a document lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 45UM(3A) provides that the withdrawal of a claim for pension bonus that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 39 repeals and substitutes section 49G.  Section 49G had provided that a request under section 49F for an increase in the rate of service pension or income support supplement had to be in writing and in accordance with a form approved by the Repatriation Commission.  The sections are included among those that make up the scheme that provided retirement assistance for farmers.

 

New subsection 49G(1) provides that a request for an increase in the rate of service pension or income support supplement under section 49F must be in writing and in accordance with a form approved by the Repatriation Commission.  The new subsection also requires the application to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 49G(2) provides that a request that is referred to in subsection 49G(1) for an increase in the pension rate that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 40 inserts a new saving provision that is applicable to any request lodged under section 49G for an increase in the rate of service pension or income support supplement that had not been dealt with at the time of the repeal of section 49G.

 

The saving provision provides that a request that has not been dealt with that complies with the provisions of the repealed section 49G is to be dealt with as if it had been lodged in accordance with the requirements of new section 49G.

 

Item 41 repeals and substitutes paragraph 52Y(1)(d).  Section 52Y sets out the criteria for the application of the financial hardship rules that apply in the circumstances where the imposition of the assets test results in a pensioner being placed in severe financial hardship.

 

Repealed paragraph 52Y(1)(d) had provided that a person with an unrealisable financial asset requesting the application of the financial hardship rules had to lodge a written request with an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

New paragraph 52Y(1)(d) provides that a person requesting the application of the financial hardship rules is to lodge, in accordance with section 5T, a written request at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

Item 42 repeals and substitutes paragraph 52ZD(3)(c).  Section 52ZD sets out the requirements for a request by a pensioner to participate in the pension loans scheme.  T he pension loans scheme provides for a person in receipt of a pension to receive a pension top-up in the form of a loan.

 

The pension loans scheme allows people who have certain assets, to draw on the value of those assets and be paid a pension up to the maximum rate of pension

 

Repealed paragraph 52ZD(3)(c) had provided that a request to participate in the scheme had to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

New paragraph 52ZD(3)(c) provides that the request to participate in the scheme must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

Item 43 repeals and substitutes new paragraph 52ZE(3)(b).  Section 52ZE applies in the circumstances where a participant in the pension loans scheme wants to:

 

·          nominate a minimum amount that the pension loans scheme participant or their estate is entitled to retain from the proceeds of the enforcement of a charge on their assets by the Commonwealth; or

·          nominate a rate of pension for the purposes of section 52ZB; or

·          make a change to the nominated amount or nominated rate.

 

The repealed paragraph 52ZE(3)(b) had specified that the request had to be in writing and had to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

New paragraph 52ZE(3)(b) provides that the request must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

Items 44 and 45 repeal and substitute new paragraph 52ZK(3)(b) and insert new subsection 52ZK(4).  Section 52ZK refers to the withdrawal of a person from the pension loans scheme.

 

Repealed paragraph 52ZK(3)(b) had provided that the written withdrawal from the pension loans scheme must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

New paragraph 52ZK(3)(b) provides that a withdrawal from the scheme must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 52ZK(4) provides that a withdrawal from the pension loans scheme that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Items 46 and 47 amend section 54.  Section 54 provides a system for the giving of notices to service pensioners and income support supplement recipients requiring them to inform the Department of Veterans’ Affairs if a specified event or change of circumstances has occurred or is likely to occur.

 

Paragraph 54(4)(c) is amended by including a reference to a notice issued under subsection 54(1) being subject to the provisions of new subsection 54(4A).

 

New subsection 54(4A) is applicable in the circumstances where a document is lodged as a consequence of the receipt of a notice issued under subsection 54(1).  New subsection 54(4A) provides that the document is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new subsection also provides that the document will be taken as having been lodged on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Items 48 to 51 amend section 54A.  Section 54A provides for the issuing of notices by the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to service pensioners and income support supplement recipients requiring the provision of particular information concerning payments of service pension, income support supplement or other benefits.

 

Subsection 54A(1) is amended by the insertion of the words “in writing” to clarify that the statement to be provided by a person in response to a notice issued by the Secretary must be in writing.

 

Paragraph 54A(3)(c) is amended by inserting a reference to a notice issued under subsection 54A(1) being subject to new subsectio54A(3A).

 

New subsection 54A(3A) provides that a document lodged as a consequence of the receipt by a person of a notice issued under subsection 54A(1) is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new subsection also provides that the document will be taken as having been lodged on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Subsection 54A(5) which refers to the statement issued in response to a notice given under subsection 54A is amended by omitting the words “in writing and”.  Subsection 54A(1) has been amended to specify that the statement must be in writing and the reference in subsection 54A(5) is no longer required.

 

Items 52 and 53 amend section 54AA.  Section 54AA provides for the issuing of notices by the Secretary to service pensioners and income support supplement recipients requiring the provision of particular information, production of documents or the appearance of a person before an officer of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

 

Subsection 54AA(4) is amended to include a reference to a notice issued under subsection 54AA(1) being subject to new subsection 54AA(4A) as well as subsection 54AA(5).

 

New subsection 54AA(4A) is applicable in the circumstances where a document is lodged as a consequence of the receipt of a notice issued under either subsection 54AA(1) or subsection 54AA(3).  New subsection 54AA(4A) provides that the document is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new subsection also provides that the document will be taken as having been lodged on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Items 54 and 55 insert new paragraph 57A(1)(d) and new subsection 57A(1A).  Section 57A sets out the requirements for an application by a claimant for the review of a decision concerning either a determination of qualifying service, or claims for a service pension or income support supplement or for financial hardship assistance.

 

New paragraph 57A(1)(d) provides that the request for a review of a decision must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 57A(1A) provides that a request for the review of a decision that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 56 adds the words “in accordance with section 5T” to the end of subsection 57G(2).  Section 57G provides that a written withdrawal of a request for a review of a decision by the Repatriation Commission must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

The amendment to subsection 57G(2) provides that the withdrawal of the request for a review is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

Items 57 and 58 amend section 58D.  Section 58D provides for the payment of a pension to an agent of the pensioner.  Subsection 58D(1) requires a written request by the pensioner before the arrangement can be approved by the Repatriation Commission.

 

Paragraph 58D(1)(a) is amended by the omission of the words “requests the Commission in writing” and the substitution of the words “by document lodged at an office of the Department in Australia in accordance with section 5T, requests the Commission”.

 

New subsection 58D(1A) is inserted to provide that a request for the payment of the pension that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Items 59 and 60 amend section 58H.  Section 58H provides for deductions from pension payments to be paid to the Commissioner of Taxation on behalf of the pensioner.

 

Subsection 58H(1) in referring to the request being made by the recipient is amended with the addition of the words “by document lodged at an office of the Department in Australia in accordance with section 5T,”.

 

The amendments to subsection 58H(1) clarify the manner in which a request may be made and make the request subject to the provisions of section 5T.

 

New subsection 58H(1A) is inserted to provide that a request for the deductions that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Items 61 and 62 amend section 58JA.  Section 58JA provides for a deduction from an instalment of a person’s pension for the purposes of making a payment that has been included in a class of payments for which approval has been granted by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.

 

Subsection 58JA(1) in referring to the request being made by the recipient is amended by the omission of the words “by writing” and the insertion of the words “by document lodged at an office of the Department in Australia in accordance with section 5T”.

 

New subsection 58JA(1A) is inserted to provide that a request that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 63 inserts new subsection 59Z(2).  Subsection 59Z provides that potential compensation payers are to provide the Department of Veterans’ Affairs with written notice of a liability to pay compensation to a person who is in receipt of a compensation affected pension.

 

New subsection 59Z(2) provides that the notice referred to in subsection 59Z(1) is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T and will be taken as having been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 64 inserts new subsection 59ZF(2). Subsection 59ZF provides that an insurer is to provide the Department of Veterans’ Affairs with written notice of a liability to pay compensation to a person in receipt of a compensation affected pension.

 

New subsection 59ZF(2) provides that the notice referred to in subsection 59ZF(1) is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T and will be taken as having been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 65 inserts new paragraph 79E(1)(c) and new subsection 79E(2).  Section 79E sets out the requirements as to the form of a proper application for an advance payment of pension.

 

New paragraph 79E(1)(c) provides that a proper application for an advance payment of pension is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 79E(2) provides that the application for the advance payment of pension will be taken as having been made on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Item 66 repeals section 79F.  Section 79F had provided the requirements for the lodgment of a proper application for an advance payment of pension.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 79E.

 

Items 67 and 68 amend section 79H.  Section 79H refers to the withdrawal of an application for an advance payment of pension.  Subsection 79H(3) provides that the withdrawal could be made orally or in writing.

 

Subsection 79H(3) is amended by the omission of the words “orally or in writing” and the insertion of the words “either orally or by document lodged in an office of the Department in Australia in accordance with section 5T”.

 

The amendments to subsection 79H(3) provide that withdrawal of the application for an advance payment of pension may be made either:

 

·          orally, as previously provided for in the section; or

·          by a document lodged in an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 79H(4) provides that the withdrawal of the application will be taken as having been made on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Items 69 and 70 insert new paragraph 79T(2)(d) and new subsection 79T(2A).  Section 79T sets out the requirements for a person seeking the review of a decision made by the Repatriation Commission concerning a request for an advance payment of pension.

 

New paragraph 79T(2)(d) provides that a request for a review of the decision is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 79T(2A) provides that a request that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 71 amends subsection 79Y(2) by adding the words “in accordance with section 5T” to the end of the subsection.  Section 79Y provides that a written withdrawal of a request for a review under section 79T must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

Amended subsection 79Y(2) provides that the withdrawal of the request for a review is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

Items 72 to 75 amend section 85.  Section 85 sets out the eligibility of veterans for medical and other treatment provided under Part V of the VEA.

 

Subsection 85(2) makes special provision for veterans with cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Subsection 85(4) provides for civilian detainees, veterans who were prisoners of war and for certain female veterans to be eligible for the treatment of all conditions.

 

The references in subsections 85(2) and (4) to veterans making an application for treatment are amended by omitting the words “received at an office of the Department in Australia” and substituting the words “lodged at an office of the Department in Australia in accordance with section 5T”.

 

Subsection 85(4A) sets out the eligibility of veterans with World War 2 qualifying service for the “Gold Card” (treatment for all conditions).

 

The subparagraph 85(4A)(c)(ii) reference to a veteran seeking treatment is amended by omitting the words “has notified the Department in writing” and substituting the words “has, by written document lodged at an office of the Department in Australia in accordance with section 5T, notified the Department”.

 

Subsection 85(4B) sets out the eligibility of all veterans aged 70 or more who have qualifying service in respect of any period of service after World War 2.

 

The subparagraph 85(4B)(c)(ii) reference to a veteran seeking treatment is amended by omitting the words “has notified the Department in writing” and substituting the words “has, by written document lodged at an office of the Department in Australia in accordance with section 5T, notified the Department”.

 

New subsection 85(4C) is inserted to provide that a notification by the veteran under subparagraph 85(4A)(c)(ii) or 85(4B)(c)(ii) that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 76 inserts new paragraph 93R(1)(d) and new subsection 93R(2).  Section 93R sets out the requirements as to the form of a proper claim by a Commonwealth or allied veteran for the grant of the pharmaceutical benefits card.

 

New paragraph 93R(1)(d) provides that the claim for the pharmaceutical benefits card must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 93R(2) provides that a claim for the pharmaceutical benefits card that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 77 repeals section 93S.  Repealed section 93S had provided the requirements for the lodgment of a proper claim for the grant of the pharmaceutical benefits card.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 93R.

 

Item 78 repeals subsections 93U(3) and (4) and substitutes new subsection 93U(3).  Section 93U refers to the withdrawal of a claim for a pharmaceutical benefits card.

 

Repealed subsection 93U(3) had provided that the withdrawal could be made orally or in writing.

 

Repealed subsection 93U(4) had provided that a written withdrawal had to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

New subsection 93U(3) provides that a withdrawal of a claim for the pharmaceutical benefits card may be made either:

 

·          orally, as previously provided for in the repealed subsection; or

·          by a document lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

Items 79 and 80 insert new paragraph 93ZA(1)(d) and new subsection 93ZA(1A).  Section 93ZA sets out the requirements for a person seeking the review of a decision made by the Repatriation Commission concerning a claim for a pharmaceutical benefits card.

 

New paragraph 93ZA(1)(d) provides that a request for a review of the decision is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 93ZA(1A) provides that a request for the review of a decision that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 81 repeals and substitutes new paragraph 111(2)(c).  Section 111 sets out the process for making an application for one of the various allowances and benefits that the section lists as being payable under the VEA.

 

Repealed paragraph 111(2)(c) had provided that an application for a benefit was to be made by forwarding or delivering the application and any supporting documentation to an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

New paragraph 111(2)(c) provides that the application for a benefit is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new paragraph also provides that the application will be taken as having been made on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Item 82 inserts new subsection 115(1A).  Section 115 sets out the requirements for a person seeking the review of a decision made by the Repatriation Commission concerning an application for one of the various allowances or benefits that are payable under the VEA.

 

New subsection 115(1A) provides that a request for a review of the decision is to be lodged with the Repatriation Commission at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new subsection also provides that the request will be taken to have been made on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Items 83 and 84 amend section 115E.  Section 115E refers to the process of making an application for a reduction in the pension reduction amount that applies to the pension payable to a veteran who is a participant in the Veterans’ Vocational Rehabilitation Scheme.

 

Repealed paragraph 115E(3)(d) had provided that an application for a reduction of the pension reduction amount had to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

New paragraph 115E(3)(d) provides that an application for a reduction in the pension reduction amount is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 115E(4) provides that an application for a reduction in the pension reduction amount will be taken to have been made on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Item 85 inserts new subsection 116B(2).  Section 116B refers to the request by a person for a determination under section 116C.  Section 116C provides that the Repatriation Commission may determine that a person is a member of a class of persons that have been determined under section 116A as being eligible to participate in the Veterans’ Children Education Scheme.

 

New subsection 116B(2) provides that a request for a determination made under subsection 116B(1) is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new subsection also provides that the request will be taken as having been made on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Item 86 inserts new subsection 116D(1A).  Section 116D sets out the requirements for a person seeking a review of a decision made by the Repatriation Commission concerning a determination under section 116C.

 

New subsection 116D(1A) provides that a request for a review of the decision is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new subsection also provides that the request will be taken to have been made on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Items 87 to 89 amend section 118AAB.  Section 118AAB sets out the requirements for making a claim for the grant of an education entry payment.

 

New subsection 118AAB(1A) is inserted and provides that a claim for the education entry payment is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new subsection also provides that a claim will be taken to have been made on a date determined under section 5T.

 

The subsection 118AAB(2) reference to the withdrawal of a claim for the education entry payment is amended to provide that the withdrawal of the claim may be made either:

 

·          orally, as previously provided for in the subsection; or

·          by a document lodged in an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 118AAB(2A) provides that a withdrawal of a claim for the education entry payment that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken as having been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 90 amends section 118A.  Section 118A sets out the eligibility of a person for a pharmaceutical allowance.  Subsection 118A(2) provides that a person will be ineligible for the allowance for any extended period of absence overseas.

 

Subsection 118A(3) reinstates eligibility to a person returning from an overseas absence.

 

The amendments to the paragraph 118A(3)(b) reference to a person notifying the Department of Veterans’ Affairs of their return from overseas provide for the notification to be made “either orally, or by document lodged at an office of the Department in Australia in accordance with section 5T”.

 

Item 91 repeals sections 118I and 118J and substitutes new section 118I.  Repealed section 118I had set out the requirements as to the form of a proper claim for the grant of an advance pharmaceutical allowance.

 

New subsection 118I(1) provides that a proper claim for an advance pharmaceutical allowance must be in writing and the claim must be lodged in accordance with a form approved by the Repatriation Commission.  The claim must also be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with the requirements of section 5T.

 

New section 118I(2) also provides that the claim for an advance pharmaceutical allowance that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Repealed section 118J had provided the requirements for the lodgment of a proper claim for an advance pharmaceutical allowance.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in amended provisions of sections 5T and 118I.

 

Item 92 inserts a new saving provision that is applicable to any claim for advance pharmaceutical allowance that has not been dealt with at the time of the repeal of sections 118I and 118J.

 

The amendment provides that a claim that has not been dealt with that complies with the provisions of repealed sections 118I and 118J is to be dealt with as if it had been lodged in accordance with the requirements of new section 118I.

 

Item 93 inserts new paragraph 118ZA(1)(d) and new subsection 118ZA(2).  Section 118ZA sets out the requirements as to the form of a proper claim for the grant of a seniors health card.

 

New paragraph 118ZA(1)(d) provides that the claim must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 118ZA(2) provides that a claim that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 94 repeals section 118ZB.  Repealed section 118ZB had provided the requirements for the lodgment of a proper claim for the grant of the seniors health card.

 

The section is now redundant as those requirements are set out in the amended provisions of sections 5T and 118ZA.

 

Items 95 and 96 amend subsection 118ZD(3) and repeal and substitute subsection 118ZD(4).  Section 118ZD refers to the withdrawal of a claim for a seniors health card.

 

Subsection 118ZD(3) had provided that the withdrawal of a claim for a seniors health card could either be made orally or in writing.  The amended subsection provides that a claim may either be made orally or by document lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

Repealed subsection 118ZD(4) had provided that a written withdrawal had to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.

 

New subsection 118ZD(4) provides that a withdrawal made by lodging a document in accordance with section 5T will be taken as having been made on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Items 97 and 98 amend section 118ZI by repealing and substituting paragraph 118ZI(3)(c) and inserting new subsection 118ZI(3A).  Section 118ZI refers to the issuing of notices to seniors health card holders requiring them to inform the Department of Veterans’ Affairs if a specified event or change of circumstances has occurred or is likely to occur.

 

Repealed paragraph 118ZI(3)(c) had provided that a notice issued under subsection 118ZI(1) was to specify how a person was to give the required information to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or to a specified officer.

 

New paragraph 118ZI(3)(c) includes a reference to the notice issued under subsection 118ZI(1) being subject to new subsection 118ZI(3A) and provides that the notice must specify how the person is to give the required information to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or the specified officer.

 

New subsection 118ZI(3A) is applicable in circumstances where a document is lodged as a consequence of the receipt of a notice issued under subsection 118ZI(1).  New subsection 118ZI(3A) provides that the document is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new subsection also provides that the document will be taken as having been lodged on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Items 99 to 102 amend section 118ZJ.  Section 118ZJ provides for the issuing of notices by the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to a person who is the holder of a seniors health card for the person to provide a statement about a matter that might affect whether the person is eligible for the card.

 

The subsection 118ZJ(1) reference to the provision of the statement is amended to insert the words “in writing” after the word “statement”.  The requirement that the statement given in response to the notice issued under subsection 118ZJ(1) must be in writing was previously set out in subsection 118ZJ(4).

 

Paragraph 118ZJ(2)(c) is repealed and substituted.  Repealed paragraph 118ZJ(2)(c) had provided that a notice issued under subsection 118ZI(1) was to specify how a person was to give the statement to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or to a specified officer.

 

New paragraph 118ZJ(2)(c) in referring to the notice specifying how and to whom the statement was to be given inserts a reference to the notice issued under subsection 118ZJ(1) being subject to new subsection 118ZJ(3A).

 

New subsection 118ZJ(3A) is applicable in the circumstances where a document is lodged as a consequence of the receipt of a notice issued under subsection 118ZJ(1) requiring a person to provide a statement.

 

New subsection 118ZJ(3A) provides that the document is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new subsection also provides that the document will be taken as having been lodged on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Subsection 118ZJ(4) is amended by the omission of the words “in writing and” which refer to the statement issued in response to a notice given under subsection 118ZJ(1).  Subsection 118ZJ(1) has been amended to specify that the statement must be in writing and the reference in subsection 118ZJ(4) is no longer required.

 

Items 103 and 104 insert new paragraph 118ZT(1)(d) and new subsection 118ZT(1A).  Section 118ZT sets out the requirements for a request by a claimant for the review of a decision made by the Repatriation Commission concerning a claim for a seniors health card.

 

New paragraph 118ZT(1)(d) provides that a request for a review of the decision is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 118ZT(1A) provides that a request for a review of the decision that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 105 amends subsection 118ZZ(2).  Section 118ZZ provides for the withdrawal of a request made under section 118ZS for a review of a decision concerning a claim for a seniors health card.  Section 118ZS provides for a dissatisfied claimant to request the Repatriation Commission to review a decision made in relation to a claim for a seniors health card.

 

Subsection 118ZZ(2) provides that the notice of the withdrawal is to be in writing and given to the Secretary by being lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia.  The subsection is amended to provide that the lodgment is to be “in accordance with section 5T”.

 

Items 106 and 107 amend section 122.  Section 122 is the general provision referring to the payment of disability pensions and most allowances payable under the VEA.

 

The subsection 122(2) reference to a request by the pensioner for the payment of pension to a third party is amended by the omission of the words “requests the Commission in writing” and the substitution of the words “by document lodged in an office of the Department in Australia and in accordance with section 5T, requests the Commission.”

 

New subsection 122(2A) provides that a request that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Items 108 and 109 amend section 127.  Section 127 provides for the issuing of notices to pensioners and persons in receipt of an allowance or benefit requiring them to inform the Department of Veterans’ Affairs if a specified event or change of circumstances has occurred or is likely to occur.

 

Repealed paragraphs 127(1)(e) and (f) require the recipients of a notice issued under subsection 127(1) to either notify the Department of Veterans’ Affairs with information or to furnish a statement concerning an event or change in circumstances.

 

New paragraphs 127(1)(e) and (f) clarify those requirements and also include a reference to documents that are lodged as a consequence of receiving a notice being subject to the provisions of new subsection 127(2A).

 

New subsection 127(2A) is applicable in the circumstances where either a document is lodged as a consequence of the receipt of a notice issued under subsection 127(1) or a statement is to be provided to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs relating to a matter referred to in paragraph 127(1)(f).

 

New subsection 127(2A) provides that the document is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new subsection also provides that the document will be taken as having been lodged on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Item 110 inserts new subsection 128(2AA).  Section 128 provides for the issuing of notices by the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to persons requiring the provision of particular information or the production of documents to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs or to a person specified in the notice.

 

New subsection 128(2AA) is applicable in circumstances where either a document is lodged as a consequence of the receipt of a notice issued under subsection 128(1) or paragraph 128(2)(a) or written information concerning a person is to be provided to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs relating to a matter referred to in paragraph 128(2)(b).

 

New subsection 128(2AA) provides that the document is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.  The new subsection also provides that the document will be taken as having been lodged on a date determined under section 5T.

 

Items 111 and 112 amend section 132.  Section 132 provides for the payment of the travelling expenses to certain persons for the purposes of medical examinations and attendance at proceedings concerning the review of a decision.

 

Paragraph 132(11)(d) is repealed and substituted.  Repealed paragraph 132(11)(d) had referred to an application for the payment of travelling expenses being forwarded to or delivered at either an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia or an office of the Veterans’ Review Board.  New paragraph 132(11)(d) provides that an application for the payment of travelling expenses is to be lodged in accordance with new subsection 132(11A).

 

New subsection 132(11A) provides that an application for the payment of travel expenses must (unless it relates to a claim being made under subsections 132(5) and (6)), be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

Applications relating to travel expenses being made under subsections 132(5) and (6) must be either:

 

·          be communicated to the Veterans’ Review Board in accordance with the directions of the Principal Member given under subsection 148(5); or

·          be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 132(11B) provides that applications for the payment of travel expenses that are communicated to the Veterans’ Review Board in accordance with the directions of the Principal Member that have been given under subsection 148(5) will be taken to have been made on date determined in accordance with those directions.

 

New subsection 132(11C) provides that an application for the payment of travel expenses that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 113 repeals and substitutes new paragraph 136(1)(b).  Section 136 sets out the requirements for an application for the review of a decision by the Veterans’ Review Board concerning a claim for or the grant of a pension.

 

New paragraph 136(1)(b) provides that an application for review must be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T and will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 114 inserts new subsections 148(5A) and (5B).  Section 148 sets out the procedures of the Veterans’ Review Board for the conduct of a review of a decision made by the Repatriation Commission.

 

Subsection 148(5) provides that the Principal Member may give general directions as to the procedures to be used in conducting a review.

 

New subsection 148(5A) provides that the power of the Principal Member of the Veterans’ Review Board under subsection 148(5) to give directions will include the power to give directions as to:

 

·          the manner of communication of the documents, including electronic documents that are to be communicated to the Veterans’ Review Board; and

·          the time at which the documents are taken to have been communicated to the Veterans’ Review Board.

 

New subsection 148(5B) provides that the documents referred to in subsection 148(5A) will include:

 

·          the documents, comments and supplementary reports that have been forwarded to the Principal Member of the Veterans’ Review Board under subsection 137(4).  The documents referred to in that subsection include any comments provided by the applicant and concern the report that is served on the applicant for review of a decision by the Veterans’ Review Board.  The report is prepared by the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and summarises all the relevant evidence held by the Department with the exclusion of any evidence that could damage the person’s health or well-being;

·          the notices given to the Principal Member by a party to the review of a decision where the party wishes to appear at the hearing of the review for the purposes of section 148;

·          the documents produced under section 151 for the purposes of the hearing of the review;

·          documents and reports of investigations and examinations forwarded to the Veterans’ Review Board as a consequence of a request to the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs under subsection 152(1);

·          withdrawals of applications for the review of a decision communicated to the Veterans’ Review Board under subsection 155(1);

·          statements provided to the Principal Member for the purposes of paragraphs 155AA(4)(c) and (d) that refer to the requirement of the applicant to advise the Principal Member as to whether or not he or she is ready to proceed at a hearing of the review during the standard review period; and

·          statements provided to the Principal Member for the purposes of paragraphs 155AB(4)(a) and (b) that refer to the requirement of the applicant to advise the Principal member as to whether or not he or she is ready to proceed at a hearing of the review during the extended review period.

 

Items 115 and 116 amend section 170A.  Section 170A provides for the reimbursement of the costs of obtaining the “relevant documentary medical evidence” that is presented in support of an application for a review to the Veterans’ Review Board.

 

Paragraph 170A(5)(c) is repealed and substituted.  The new paragraph provides that an application for the payment of the medical expenses is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 170A(6) provides that an application for the payment of medical expenses that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Items 117 and 118 amend section 170B.  Section 170B provides for the payment of the travelling costs of obtaining the “relevant documentary medical evidence” that is presented in support of an application for a review to the Veterans’ Review Board.

 

Paragraph 170B(5)(c) is repealed and substituted.  The new paragraph provides that an application for the payment of the travelling expenses is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 170B(5A) provides that an application for the payment of travelling expenses that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Item 119 repeals subsection 196E(2) and inserts new subsections 196E(2) and (2A).  Section 196E provides for various parties to request the Repatriation Medical Authority for an investigation in respect of a particular kind of injury, disease or death or for a review of a decision not to make a Statement of Principles in respect of a particular injury, disease or death.

 

The Repatriation Medical Authority is a body of medical-scientific experts set up to determine Statements of Principles (SOPs) in respect of injury, disease or death.  If it is of the view that there is sound medical-scientific evidence to indicate that the injury, disease or death can be related to the service rendered by a veteran a SOP will be issued.

 

Repealed subsection 196E(2) had provided that a request under subsection 196E(1) must be in a form approved by the Repatriation Medical Authority and must be lodged at an office of the Repatriation Medical Authority.

 

New subsection 196E(2) provides that a request must be in a form that is approved by the Repatriation Medical Authority and must be lodged at an office of the Repatriation Medical Authority in accordance with the directions given by the Chairperson of the Repatriation Medical Authority under subsection 196E(2A).

 

New subsection 196E(2A) provides that the Chairperson of the Repatriation Medical Authority may provide directions as to the manner in which requests may be lodged under subsection 196E(1) and the time at which such a request has been taken to have been communicated.

 

Items 120 and 121 amend section 196Y.  Section 196Y provides for various parties to request the Specialist Medical Review Council to a review of the contents of a Statement of Principles or the decision of the Repatriation Medical Authority not to make a Statement of Principles in respect of a particular injury, disease or death.

 

The Specialist Medical Review Council is a body of medical-scientific experts set up to create an appeal mechanism for veterans seeking the review of a decision made in relation to the determination of Statements of Principles by the Repatriation Medical Authority.

 

Paragraph 196Y(3)(c) is repealed and substituted.  New paragraph 196Y(3)(c) provides that a request to the Specialist Medical Review Council for a review is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 196Y(3A) provides that a request for a review that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Items 122 and 123 amend section 196Z.  Section 196Z provides that a person or organisation may ask the Specialist Medical Review Council to review a decision of the Repatriation Medical Authority not to carry out an investigation for the purpose of conducting a review of a decision made by the Authority.

 

Paragraph 196Z(2)(c) is repealed and new paragraphs 196Z(2)(c) and (d) are substituted.  New paragraph 196Z(2)(c) provides that the request to the Specialist Medical Review Council for a review must be accompanied by any submission that the person or organisation wishes to submit in support of the grounds on which the review is sought.

 

New subsection 196Z(2A) is inserted and provides that a request for a review that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Items 124 to 125 amend section 196ZN.  Section 196ZN provides for the reimbursement of the costs of obtaining the “relevant documentary medical evidence” that is obtained for the purposes of the review that is submitted to the Specialist Medical Review Council.

 

Paragraph 196ZN(4)(c) is repealed and new paragraphs 196ZN(4)(c) and (d) are substituted.  Paragraph 196ZN(4)(c) provides that an application for the payment of the medical expenses may be accompanied by any document that is relevant to the application.  New paragraph 196ZN(4)(d) provides that the application is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Australia in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 196ZN(4A) is inserted and provides that an application for the payment of medical expenses that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

Items 126 and 127 amend section 196ZO.  Section 196ZO provides for the payment of the travelling costs of obtaining the “relevant documentary medical evidence” that is presented in support of an application for a review to the Specialist Medical Review Council.

 

Paragraph 196ZO(5)(c) is repealed and new paragraphs 196ZO(5)(c) and (d) are substituted.  New paragraph 196ZO(5)(c) provides that an application for the payment of the travelling expenses may be accompanied by any document that is relevant to the application.  New paragraph 196ZO(5)(d) provides that an application for the payment of medical expenses is to be lodged at an office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in accordance with section 5T.

 

New subsection 196ZO(5A) is inserted and provides that an application for the payment of travelling expenses that is lodged in accordance with section 5T will be taken to have been made on a date determined under that section.

 

C ommencement

 

Clause 2 provides that items 1 to 127 are to commence on a date to be fixed by Proclamation.  In default of Proclamation within 6 months of the day on which the Act receives Royal Assent, the amendments will commence on the day following the end of the 6 month period.