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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 8564


Senator DI NATALE (VictoriaLeader of the Australian Greens) (11:17): That could easily be rectified by saying there had to be a minimum period of time from notification by the department to when the decision to withdraw a payment was made. This is a pretty big change. We do not know how many families will be affected, and this is going to be a big test of the reliability of the data on the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register. The last thing we want is for the department to be withdrawing support to thousands of families on the basis of information that is just not accurate. So it is going to be a big test of that database. I think there needs to be a minimum period from notification to the individual families involved—and we can have a discussion about what that minimum notification period needs to be, but I would have thought at least a fortnight and probably closer to a month to allow people to take the necessary action to ensure that the register is updated. I would have thought a commitment from the department that there will be a minimum period for people to be able to update the information before the decision to withdraw the payment is made would be something that had already been dealt with—I am surprised it has not. Obviously, this is an opportunity to raise that specific issue and get some undertaking from the department that there will be a period of two or four weeks for people to respond to a notice that a withdrawal of payment will be made, if the information on the register is not updated.