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Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cost of Living Concession) Bill 2015

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2013-2014-2015

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOCIAL SERVICES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT

(COST OF LIVING CONCESSION) BILL 2015

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of the

Minister for Social Services, the Hon Scott Morrison MP)



 

 



SOCIAL SERVICES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT

(COST OF LIVING CONCESSION) BILL 2015

 

 

OUTLINE

 

This Bill introduces a beneficial new measure, to exclude the Cost of Living Concession Payment made by the South Australian Government from being assessed as income under the social security and veterans’ affairs income tests.

From September 2015, the South Australian Government is introducing a new Cost of Living Concession Payment, which will replace the South Australian Council Rates Concession (a discount on rates bills).

The exclusion of the new payment from the definition of income ensures people’s social security and veterans’ affairs income support payments are not affected by receipt of the new payment, and therefore that they receive the full benefit of the Cost of Living Concession Payment.

Financial impact statement

This measure has no financial impact.

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

The statement of compatibility with human rights appears at the end of this explanatory memorandum.

 



SOCIAL SERVICES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT

(COST OF LIVING CONCESSION) BILL 2015

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

 

Clause 1 sets out how the new Act is to be cited - that is, as the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cost of Living Concession) Act 2015.

Clause 2 provides a table specifying that the whole of the new Act commences on the day of Royal Assent.

Clause 3 provides that legislation specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in that Schedule.

 



Schedule 1 - Amendments

 

 

Summary

This Schedule excludes the Cost of Living Concession Payment made by the South Australian Government from being assessed as income under the social security and veterans’ affairs income tests.

Background

From September 2015, the South Australian Government is introducing a new Cost of Living Concession Payment, which will replace the South Australian Council Rates Concession (a discount on rates bills).  The new payment will be paid to certain eligible homeowners who previously benefited from the South Australian Council Rates Concession.  In addition, the new payment will, for the first time, provide support to certain eligible low income tenants.  The new payment will be a direct annual payment of either $100 or $200 to eligible people (depending on their circumstances). 

 

Amendments are made by this Schedule to exclude the Cost of Living Concession Payment from income for social security and veterans’ entitlements purposes.

 

The amendments commence on the day of Royal Assent.

 

Explanation of the changes

Amendment to the Social Security Act 1991

Section 8 of the Social Security Act 1991 (Social Security Act) provides a broad definition of income for social security purposes.  Subsection 8(8) excludes specified amounts from the definition of income.

 

Item 1 inserts a new paragraph 8(8)(zac) into the Social Security Act.  This new provision excludes from the definition of income a payment known as the Cost of Living Concession, which is made by the Government of South Australia.

 

Amendment to the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986

 

Item 2 makes a similar amendment by inserting into the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 a new paragraph 5H(8)(zec), which excludes the Cost of Living Concession Payment from the definition of income for veterans’ entitlements purposes.

 

Application provision

 

Item 3 is an application provision, which ensures the exclusion applies in relation to Cost of Living Concession payments, whether made before, on or after commencement (Royal Assent).

 

 

 



STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the

Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

SOCIAL SERVICES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT

(COST OF LIVING CONCESSION) BILL 2015

 

Schedule 1 - Amendments

 

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

Overview of the Bill

From September 2015, the South Australian Government is introducing a new Cost of Living Concession Payment, which will replace the South Australian Council Rates Concession (a discount on rates bills).  The new payment will be paid to certain eligible homeowners who previously benefited from the South Australian Council Rates Concession.  In addition, the new payment will, for the first time, provide support to certain eligible low income tenants.  The new payment will be a direct annual payment of either $100 or $200 to eligible people (depending on their circumstances). 

Amendments are made by this Schedule to exclude the Cost of Living Concession from being assessed as income under the social security and veterans’ affairs income tests .

Human rights implications

The Schedule engages the following human rights:

The right to social security

Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognizes the right of everyone to social security.

The income test exemption for the Cost of Living Concession ensures that eligible people receiving these payments will not have these payments assessed as income for social security and veterans’ entitlements purposes.  The income test exemption is beneficial to people who receive social security or veterans’ income support payments.

Conclusion

This Schedule ensures that individuals receiving the Cost of Living Concession do not have the Cost of Living Concession assessed as income for social security and veterans’ entitlements purposes.  The income test exemption of the Cost of Living Concession payment supports their human right to social security and is therefore compatible with human rights.