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Social Security Legislation Amendment (Job Seeker Compliance) Bill 2011

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2010-2011

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOCIAL SECURITY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (JOB SEEKER COMPLIANCE) BILL 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

Amendments to be moved on behalf of the Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Employment Participation and Childcare)

 

 



SOCIAL SECURITY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (JOB SEEKER COMPLIANCE) BILL 2011

 

REASON FOR AMENDMENTS

 

Item 15 of Schedule 1 to the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Job Seeker Compliance) Bill 2011 (the Bill) inserts a new section 42UA into the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 . That section provides that a job seeker’s excuse for certain failures to attend appointments or activities cannot be regarded as a reasonable excuse unless the job seeker notifies Centrelink, their employment services provider, or other relevant person of their excuse prior to the appointment or activity. However, the Secretary can regard a job seeker’s excuse as a reasonable excuse if the Secretary is satisfied “that there were special circumstances in which it was not reasonable to expect the person to give the [prior] notification”.

 

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment, in its report of its inquiry into the Bill, stated:

 

“The Committee recommends that the word ‘special’ be removed from the table in proposed section 42UA, inserted by Item 15 of the Bill, such that the relevant provisions read: ‘the Secretary is satisfied that there were circumstances in which it was not reasonable to expect the person to give the notification.” [1]

 

Government amendment

 

The proposed amendments to the Bill give effect to the recommendation of the House of Representatives Standing Committee by removing the word ‘special’ from proposed section 42UA.

 

The intention of paragraph (b) of items 1, 2 and 3 of subsection 42UA is to enable Centrelink (as delegate of the Secretary) to have regard to a job seeker’s circumstances in deciding whether or not to take into account an excuse proffered by the job seeker after missing a compulsory activity or appointment. The deletion of the word “special” from paragraph (b) of items 1, 2 and 3 of the table in subsection 42UA(2) will enhance Centrelink’s flexibility in deciding whether a job seeker had capacity to give prior notification of an excuse for not attending a compulsory appointment or activity. So long as Centrelink is satisfied that the job seeker’s circumstances were such as to make it unreasonable for the job seeker to give prior notification, Centrelink will be able to have regard to the excuse they give subsequent to the appointment or activity. The job seeker’s circumstances do not need to be “special”, in the sense that they do not need to be unusual or out-of-the-ordinary; however, the job seeker’s failure to give prior notification of their excuse still needs to be reasonable.

 




[1] Recommendation 9, p41, Advisory Report on the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Job Seeker Compliance) Bill 2011 , May 2011.