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Thursday, 11 February 1999
Page: 2459

Mr McGAURAN (Arts and the Centenary of Federation) (9:53 AM) —I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

I am presenting this bill on behalf of the Minister for Community Services, who is visiting his electorate of Wide Bay in this time of their crisis.

This bill follows up last year's youth allowance package. That package consisted of two substantial acts and several pieces of subordinate legislation, including three major ones relating to the fares allowance for students, the student financial supplement and the youth allowance family actual means test.

Those three matters were addressed at the time in subordinate legislation only because of the time constraints imposed by the youth allowance package. As was always intended, those provisions are now to be moved into the Social Security Act itself, of this bill.

The provisions are to be moved in this way without generally making any change in their effect. This, of course, was also the aim when moving the provisions last year from the former Austudy structure into the social security system, so that students did not suffer any disruption to their payments halfway through the academic year. However, certain drafting and other minor refinements are to be made now, including to ensure that the original Austudy provisions are correctly reflected.

The other main purpose of the bill is to deal with several technical issues that were identified during the implementation of the youth allowance package. Again, these reflect the original Austudy policies and generally consolidate the operation of the package.

The bill also makes minor consequential amendments to relevant tax and data-matching legislation. I commend the bill to the House and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Melham) adjourned.