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Social Security Amendment (Caring for People on Newstart) Bill 2017

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2016-2017

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

SOCIAL SECURITY AMENDMENT (CARING FOR PEOPLE ON NEWSTART) BILL 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator Siewert)



SOCIAL SECURITY AMENDMENT (CARING FOR PEOPLE ON NEWSTART) BILL 2017

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of the Social Security Amendment (Caring for People on Newstart) Bill 2017 is to provide additional financial assistance to Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients to assist in alleviating poverty and to help people to more effectively access employment.

 

The Bill:

·       increases the single rates of Newstart by $110 a fortnight;

·       increases the single independent rates of Youth Allowance by $110 a fortnight; and

·       provides the same indexation arrangements for certain pensions and allowances, being the higher of CPI (Consumer Price Index), MTAWE (Male Total Average Weekly Earnings) or pensioner and beneficiary living cost index amount.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1: Short Title

1.           Clause 1 is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Bill.

Clause 2: Commencement

2.           This clause provides for sections 1 to 3 of the Act to commence on the day it receives Royal Assent and Schedule 1 of the Act to commence 28 days after it receives Royal Assent.

Clause 3: Schedules

3.           Each Act specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as is set out in the applicable items in the Schedule.  Any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

Schedule 1—Amendments

Part 1 - Newstart amendments

Social Security Act 1991

Item 1

6.                   This item inserts an additional step into the method statement at point 1068-A1 of the Act. This item is a consequential amendment to item 2.

Item 2

7.                   This item inserts a new Module CA into the Social Security Act 1991 after point 1068-C4 providing for a Newstart supplement payment. The Newstart supplement payment is $110 a fortnight paid to a person who is qualified for the Newstart Allowance and who is single, a member of an illness separated couple or a partnered couple where one of the partners is in gaol.

Part 2 - Youth allowance amendments

Social Security Act 1991

Items 3 to 9

8.                   These items amend the table in point 1067G-B3 of the Social Security Act 1991 to increase the amounts in column 3 items 1-6 and 8 by $110. These amendments implement a $110 a fortnight increase to the maximum basic rates for independent, single recipients of Youth Allowance. 

Items 10 and 11

9.                   These items amend the table in point 1067G-B4 of the Social Security Act 1991 to increase the amounts in column 3 items 3 and 4 by $110. These amendments implement a $110 a fortnight increase to the maximum basic rates for independent, single, long term income support student recipients of Youth Allowance.

Part 3 - Indexation amendments

Social Security Act 1991

Item 12

10.               This item inserts a new row to the table in section 1190 to include reference to the additional Newstart supplement being a payment that is indexed.

Item 13

11.               This item inserts a new row to the table in subsection 1191(1) to include a reference to the additional Newstart supplement being a payment that is indexed to CPI.

Item 14

12.               This item inserts a new section 1195A providing certain pension and allowance payments to be indexed the same, being the higher of CPI, MTAWE or pensioner and beneficiary living cost index amount.

 

    

 

  Subsection (1) lists the pension and allowance payments to be indexed by reference to the payments listed in section 1191. 

 

    

 

  Subsection (2) provides the method statement for determining the indexation for the payments listed in subsection (1). The method is to determine the CPI indexed amount in accordance with section 1192, and to determine the MTAWE indexed amount applying the rules in section 1195, and to determine the pensioner and beneficiary living cost index amount in accordance with section 1196. The indexed amount is then the highest of those three amounts.  

Part 4 - Other amendments

Social Security (Administration) Act 1999

Items 15 and 16

13.               These items confirm that payments made as a result of this Bill cannot be made until Parliament has made an appropriation for that purpose.

 



 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Social Security Amendment (Caring for People on Newstart) Bill 2017

 

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

The Bill:

·       increases the single rates of Newstart by $110 a fortnight;

·       increases the single independent rates of Youth Allowance by $110 a fortnight; and

·       provides the same indexation arrangements for certain pensions and allowances, being the higher of CPI, MTAWE or pensioner and beneficiary living cost index amount.

 

Human rights implications

The Bill engages the following human rights:

 

Right to social security

 

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

 

The Bill will promote the right to social security by increasing the amount of financial support for certain recipients of Newstart and Youth Allowance and providing more appropriate indexation for other social security basic payment rates.

                                                                                                     

The focus on singles is based on evidence that these households are the most at risk of poverty. The ACOSS report Poverty in Australia 2016 found that single people generally faced a significantly higher risk of poverty than couples (24.6% to 10.1%) while 33.2% of single parent families are living in poverty compared with 11.3% of couples with children. This reflects in part the economies of scale available to people living with partners. This focus is therefore aimed at a legitimate objective, and is reasonable, necessary and proportionate to achieving that objective.

 

Conclusion

This Bill is compatible with human rights because it generally advances human rights and to the extent that it may limit human rights, those limitations are reasonable, necessary and proportionate.

 

Senator Rachel Siewert