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Thursday, 26 August 2021
Page: 8672

Mr WYATT (HasluckMinister for Indigenous Australians) (09:36): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This is a companion bill to the Territories Stolen Generations Redress Scheme (Facilitation) Bill 2021. This bill will facilitate the implementation of certain aspects of the Territories Stolen Generations Redress Scheme, a redress scheme for stolen generations survivors who were forcibly removed as children from their families in the Northern Territory or the Australian Capital Territory prior to their respective self-government, or the Jervis Bay Territory.

The scheme adopts a survivor focused approach and the redress payments under the scheme are in recognition of the harm caused by forced removal and are aimed at healing.

As such, this bill makes amendments to various Commonwealth acts to ensure that eligible participants will receive the full benefit of their redress payment and that receipt of the payment does not adversely affect income testing for other Commonwealth payments or benefits.

Amendments to the Social Security Act 1991 and the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 will ensure the redress payments are exempt from the applicable income test under those acts.

Amendments to the Bankruptcy Act 1966 will ensure that the redress payment is quarantined from the divisible property of a bankrupt and the recipient can fully benefit from redress payments provided under the scheme, regardless of their circumstances.

Amendments to the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 provide that any redress payments made under the scheme to a person will be exempt from income tax, and not be subject to capital gains tax. These amendments will also prevent a redress payment from being considered in income testing for some other Commonwealth payments and benefits.

This bill also makes amendments to the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999. These amendments facilitate access to protected information, which will be used in limited circumstances in administering the scheme. For example, to verify the identity of applicants to the scheme, it may be necessary to crosscheck identity information provided by applicants with information held by the Department of Social Services or Services Australia. At all times, the protections applying to social security protected information continue to apply.

These amendments:

support the survivor focused and trauma informed approach of the scheme,

support intergenerational healing,

ensure eligible participants receive the full benefit of their redress payment, and

will positively impact the health and wellbeing of stolen generations survivors, their families and communities.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.