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Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2015

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2013-2014-2015

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOCIAL SERVICES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT

(FAMILY PAYMENTS STRUCTURAL REFORM AND

PARTICIPATION MEASURES) BILL 2015

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of the

Minister for Social Services, the Hon Christian Porter MP)



 



SOCIAL SERVICES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (FAMILY PAYMENTS STRUCTURAL REFORM AND PARTICIPATION MEASURES) BILL 2015

 

OUTLINE

 

This Bill will introduce the measures set out below.

Reform family tax benefit Part A and at-home under-18 year old youth fortnightly rates

Family tax benefit Part A fortnightly rates will be increased by $10.08 for each FTB child in the family aged up to 19.  An equivalent rate increase, of around $10.44 per fortnight, will apply to youth allowance and disability support pension recipients aged under 18 and living at home.  These increases will apply from 1 July 2018.

Reforms to family tax benefit Part B

From 1 July 2016, the Bill will introduce a new rate structure for family tax benefit Part B, and make other amendments to the rules for Part B, to:

·          increase the standard rate by $1,000.10 per year for families with a youngest child aged under one;

·          introduce a reduced rate of $1,000.10 per year for single parent families with a youngest child aged 13 to 16 (currently $2,737.50), and extend the $1,000.10 rate to couple grandparents caring for a youngest child in this age range;

  • remove family tax benefit Part B for couple families (other than grandparents) with a youngest child aged 13 or over.

Phase out the family tax benefit Part A and Part B supplements

The Bill will phase out the family tax benefit Part A supplement by reducing it to $602.25 a year from 1 July 2016, and to $302.95 a year from 1 July 2017.  It will then be withdrawn from 1 July 2018.

The family tax benefit Part B supplement will also be phased out.  It will be reduced to $302.95 a year from 1 July 2016, and to $153.30 a year from 1 July 2017.  It will then be withdrawn completely from 1 July 2018.

Financial impact statement

MEASURE

FINANCIAL IMPACT OVER THE FORWARD ESTIMATES (FISCAL BALANCE, WHOLE OF GOVERNMENT)

Reform family tax benefit Part A and at-home under-18 year old youth fortnightly rates

Cost of $584.2 million

Reforms to family tax benefit Part B

Saving of $1,361.8 million

Phase out the family tax benefit Part A and Part B supplements

Saving of $4,063.9 million

 

 

STATEMENTS OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

The statements of compatibility with human rights appear at the end of this explanatory memorandum.

 



SOCIAL SERVICES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (FAMILY PAYMENTS STRUCTURAL REFORM AND PARTICIPATION MEASURES) BILL 2015

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Abbreviations used in this explanatory memorandum

·          Family Assistance Act means the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999

·          Family Assistance Administration Act means the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999

·          Social Security Act means the Social Security Act 1991

·          Social Security Administration Act means the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999

Clause 1 sets out how the new Act is to be cited - that is, as the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Act 2015.

Clause 2 provides a table setting out the commencement dates of the various sections in, and Schedules to, the new Act.

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

 



Schedule 1 - Payment rates

 

 

Summary

Family tax benefit Part A fortnightly rates will be increased by $10.08 for each FTB child in the family aged up to 19.  An equivalent rate increase, of around $10.44 per fortnight, will apply to certain youth allowance and disability support pension recipients aged under 18.  These increases will apply from 1 July 2018.

Background

The standard FTB child rate for an individual whose family tax benefit is calculated under method 1 is set out in clause 7 of Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act.  There are two different FTB child rates, depending on whether the FTB child is under 13 or has reached 13 years of age.  These FTB child rates are referred to as ‘FTB child rate (A1)’ for the purposes of indexation under Schedule 4 to the Family Assistance Act.

From 1 July 2018, these rates will be increased by $262.80 a year (equivalent to $10.08 per fortnight).  The increase will be applied to these FTB child rates after they have been indexed on 1 July 2018 in accordance with the usual rules. 

Youth allowance is calculated under the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator in section 1067G of the Social Security Act.  The tables in points 1067G-B2 and 1067G-B3 set out a person’s maximum basic rate, depending on their situation and whether or not they are independent. 

From 1 July 2018, the maximum basic rate of youth allowance for a person who is:

·          not independent, lives at home and is not yet 18 years of age;

·          independent, an accommodated independent person and not yet 18 years of age; or

·          independent, in supported state care and not yet 18 years old;

 

will be aligned to the method 1 FTB child rate applicable to an FTB child who has reached 13 years of age.

Aligning these two rates of payment will avoid confusion for families, and make sure there is no financial incentive for an FTB child to leave full-time secondary study to claim youth allowance.

Disability support pension is calculated under Pension Rate Calculator D in section 1066A of the Social Security Act for people who are under 21 years of age, who are not blind and who do not have dependent children.  Pension Rate Calculator E provides for the calculation of the rate of disability support pension for a person who is under 21 years of age and is permanently blind.

 



From 1 July 2018, the maximum basic rate of disability support pension for a person who is not a member of a couple, under 18, not independent and not living away from the person’s parental home because of a medical condition of the person, will also be aligned to the method 1 FTB child rate applicable to an FTB child who has reached 13 years of age.

Explanation of the changes

Part 1 - Family tax benefit

Amendments to the Family Assistance Act

Schedule 4 provides for the indexation of specified rates and amounts.  These include the FTB child rates set out in clause 7 of Schedule 1 which are referred to in Schedule 4 as ‘FTB child rate (A1)’.  These are annual amounts.

Item 1 inserts a new clause 7 into Schedule 4, which, in effect, increases each annual amount of FTB child rate (A1) by $262.80.  The increase would occur on 1 July 2018, after the amounts have been indexed under Schedule 4 in accordance with the current rules.  The note at the end of new clause 7 addresses a technical issue.

Item 2 is an application provision which ensures that the new increased amounts are used to calculate the rate of family tax benefit for days on and after commencement (being 1 July 2018).

Part 2 - Youth allowance and disability support pension

Amendments to the Social Security Act

The rate of disability support pension for a person who is under 21, not blind and has no dependent children is worked out using Pension Rate Calculator D at the end of section 1066A.  The maximum basic rates table is in point 1066A-B1.  Item 1 in the table at the end of point 1066A-B1 specifies the maximum basic rate (both annual and fortnightly) for a person who is not a member of a couple, who is under 18, not independent and not living away from the person’s parental home because of a medical condition.

Item 3 omits the annual amount in column 3 of item 1 and substitutes a reference to the annual linked rate .  This concept is then defined in new point 1066A-B2 (inserted by item 6 ) by reference to column 2 or item 2 of the table in clause 7 of Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act (being the FTB child rate applicable to an FTB child who has reached 13 years of age).

Item 4 omits the fortnightly amount in column 4 of item 1 and substitutes a reference to the fortnightly linked rate .  This concept is then defined in new point 1066A-B3 (inserted by item 6 ) through a formula that converts the annual rate in column 3 (the annual linked rate) into a fortnightly rate. 

Item 5 makes a consequential amendment to note 4 at the end of point 1066A-B1.

Items 7 to 10 make similar amendments to Pension Rate Calculator E at the end of section 1066B to link the maximum basic rate of disability support pension, for a blind person who is otherwise in the same situation as described above, to the FTB child rate applicable to an FTB child who has reached 13 years of age.

Youth allowance is calculated under the Youth Allowance Rate Calculator in section 1067G. 

The table in point 1067-B2 lists maximum basic rates of youth allowance for the various categories of people who are not independent.  Item 1 of this table provides the maximum basic rate for a person who lives at home and is not yet 18 years old.

Item 11 omits the fortnightly amount in column 3 of item 1 and substitutes a reference to the linked rate .  This concept is then defined in new point 1067G-B2A (inserted by item 13 ) by reference to the FTB child rate for an FTB child who has reached 13 years of age (the annual amount in column 2 of item 2 of the table in clause 7 of Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act) and provides a formula to convert the relevant FTB child rate to a fortnightly amount. 

Item 12 makes a consequential amendment to the note at the end of point 1067G-B2. 

The table in point 1067-B3 lists maximum basic rates of youth allowance for the various categories of people who are independent and not long-term income support students.  Item 1 of this table provides the maximum basic rate for a person who is an accommodated independent person and not yet 18 years of age.  Item 3 of this table provides the maximum basic rate for a person who is in supported state care and not yet 18 years old. 

Item 14 omits the fortnightly amounts in table items 1 and 3 in column 3 and replaces the amounts with references to the linked rate .  This concept is then defined in new point 1067G-B3AAA (inserted by item 16 ) by reference to the FTB child rate for an FTB child who has reached 13 years of age (the annual amount in column 2 of item 2 of the table in clause 7 of Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act), which also provides a formula to convert the relevant FTB child rate to a fortnightly amount. 

Item 15 makes a consequential amendment to the note at the end of point 1067G-B3. 

The amendments described above directly link certain youth allowance and disability support pension maximum basic rates for under 18 year-olds to the FTB child rate for an FTB child who has reached 13 years of age.  As the relevant FTB child rate is indexed on 1 July of each year, the linked youth allowance and disability support pension rates will also be increased. 

The amounts that have been omitted by the amendments described above would have been subject to indexation or adjustment under the Social Security Act.  Items 17 to 21 make consequential amendments to remove references to these amounts from the relevant indexation and adjustment provisions.

Item 22 is an application provision, which ensures that the new linked amounts are used in working out the rate of youth allowance and disability support pension for days on and after commencement (being 1 July 2018).

 



Schedule 2 - Family tax benefit Part B rate

 

 

Summary

From 1 July 2016, this Schedule will introduce a new rate structure for family tax benefit Part B, and make other amendments to the rules for Part B, to:

·          increase the standard rate by $1,000.10 per year for families with a youngest child aged under one;

·          introduce a reduced rate of $1,000.10 per year for single parent families with a youngest child aged 13 to 16 (currently $2,737.50), and extend the $1,000.10 rate to couple grandparents with an FTB child in this age range;

  • remove family tax benefit Part B for couple families (other than grandparents) with a youngest child aged 13 or over.

Background

Under the current rules, an individual’s standard rate of family tax benefit Part B is worked out using the table in clause 30 of Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act.  There are two different rates, depending on whether the individual’s youngest child is under five years of age or five years and over.  An FTB child who has turned 16 is disregarded for the purposes of family tax benefit Part B unless they are a senior secondary school child (as defined in section 22B of the Family Assistance Act) and the calendar year in which the child turned 18 has not ended. 

 

From 1 July 2016, amendments made by this Schedule introduce a new rate structure for family tax benefit Part B.  Under the new structure, an individual’s standard rate will be increased by $1,000.10 per annum where their youngest child is under one year of age.  For a youngest child aged 13 to 16, the standard rate will be reduced to $1,000.10 per annum.  The standard Part B rates for other age groups will not change.

 

Further, an FTB child who has turned 16 will be disregarded for the purposes of family tax benefit Part B unless they are a senior secondary school child (as defined in section 22B of the Family Assistance Act) and the calendar year in which the child turned 16 has not ended.  This changes the current age provisions, where families can access family tax benefit Part B for an FTB child who is a senior secondary school child until the end of the calendar year in which they turn 18 years old.

 

Amendments also ensure that an individual who is a member of a couple, with a youngest child who has turned 13 years of age, will not be able to access family tax benefit Part B.  This rule will not, however, apply where the individual is a grandparent of that FTB child.

 



Explanation of the changes

Amendments to the Family Assistance Act

 

Subclause 29(3) of Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act currently disregards an FTB child who has turned 16 from the calculation of an individual’s Part B rate unless the child is a senior secondary school child.  Section 22B of the Family Assistance Act defines a senior secondary school child

 

Item 1 amends section 22B to provide a new definition of senior secondary school child for the purposes of subclause 29(3).  Under the new definition, a senior secondary school child will be an individual (child) who is aged 16 where the calendar year in which the individual turned 16 has not ended.  Items 2 and 3 make other necessary consequential amendments to section 22B.

 

Item 4 inserts a new clause 28D into Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act. 

 

Subclause 28D(1) sets out the general rule that an individual cannot access family tax benefit Part B if the individual is a member of a couple and their youngest FTB child has turned 13.  However, this rule does not apply where the individual is a grandparent of that FTB child (subclause 28D(2) refers).

 

Subclauses 28D(3) and (4) then provide a definition of grandparent , which takes account of biological, adoptive, step and relationship child-parent relationships and is consistent with the definition that applies for the purposes of determining eligibility of grandparents for the special grandparent rate where an individual is eligible for child care benefit by fee reduction. 

 

Clause 30 of Schedule 1 sets out the standard rates for family tax benefit Part B, depending on the individual’s family situation (that is, whether the individual’s youngest FTB child is under five years of age or is aged five or over).  Item 6 repeals the table in clause 30 and inserts a new table.

 

Under the new table, there will be four new standard rates for Part B.

 

The first new rate will apply where the individual’s youngest FTB child is aged under one year.  This rate will be the equivalent of the current standard rate (Part B) that applies where the youngest FTB child is aged under five, as it would have been indexed on 1 July 2016 under the ‘old’ rules, plus $1,000.10.  New subclause 30(2) has this effect. 

 

The second rate will apply where the individual’s youngest FTB child is aged at least one year but less than five years of age.  This rate will be the equivalent of the current standard rate (Part B) that applies where the youngest FTB child is aged under five years, as it would have been indexed on 1 July 2016 under the ‘old’ rules.  New subclause 30(3) has this effect.

 

The third rate will apply where the individual’s youngest FTB child is aged at least five years but less than 13 years of age.  This rate will be the equivalent of the current standard rate (Part B) that applies where the youngest FTB child is aged five or over, as it would have been indexed on 1 July 2016 under the ‘old’ rules.  New subclause 30(4) has this effect.

 

The fourth rate will apply where the individual’s youngest FTB child is aged at least 13 years but less than 17 years of age.  This rate will be $1,000.10.

 

The new amounts in the table in clause 30 will apply from 1 July 2016, and these amounts will be indexed for the first time on 1 July 2017 in accordance with the usual rules (subitem 10(2) refers).

 

Notes at the end of the new table refer the reader to the rules in subclause 29(3) and new clause 28D. 

 

Item 5 makes a consequential amendment to subclause 29(3), which is required because of the insertion of the new table in clause 30.

 

Item 7 makes a minor consequential amendment to clause 2 of Schedule 4 to the Family Assistance Act.

 

Item 8 makes a minor change to the indexation provisions (base quarter) as the first indexation of the new amounts in the table in clause 30 of Schedule 1 will occur on 1 July 2017. 

 

Item 10 is an application provision.  It provides that the amendments made by this Schedule apply in working out the rate of family tax benefit for days on or after commencement (that is, 1 July 2016).  It also provides that the first indexation of the new amounts in the table in subclause 30(1) of Schedule 1 is to be on 1 July 2017. 

 



Schedule 3 - Family tax benefit supplements

 

Summary

 

This Schedule will phase out the family tax benefit Part A supplement by reducing it to $602.25 a year from 1 July 2016, and to $302.95 a year from 1 July 2017.  It will then be withdrawn from 1 July 2018.

The family tax benefit Part B supplement will also be phased out.  It will be reduced to $302.95 a year from 1 July 2016, and to $153.30 a year from 1 July 2017.  It will then be withdrawn from 1 July 2018.

Background

 

The family tax benefit Part A and B supplements are components of the rate of family tax benefit, and are added into the rate after the end of the relevant income year when certain conditions are satisfied.  

 

Starting from 1 July 2016, the end-of-year family tax benefit Part A and family tax benefit Part B supplements will be phased out.  These amounts will not be available from 1 July 2018. 

 

Explanation of the changes

 

Part 1 - Amendments commencing 1 July 2016

 

Amendments to the Family Assistance Act

 

On 1 July 2016, the end-of-year family tax benefit Part A and family tax benefit Part B supplements will be reduced. 

 

Clause 31A of Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act provides for the calculation of the FTB Part B supplement (referred to in clause 31A as the FTB (B) gross supplement amount ).  Item 2 repeals subclauses 31A(2) and (3) and substitutes a new subclause 31A(2), which resets the FTB (B) gross supplement amount to $302.95. 

 

Clause 38A of Schedule 1 provides for the calculation of the family tax benefit Part A supplement (referred to in clause 38A as the FTB gross supplement amount ), which is a per-child amount.  Item 3 repeals subclauses 38A(3) and (4)and substitutes a new subclause 38A(3), which resets the FTB gross supplement amount to $602.25. 

 

The FTB gross supplement amount and the FTB (B) gross supplement amount are usually indexed in accordance with movements in the CPI on 1 July each year (although indexation of these amounts is currently paused under clause 3(8) of Schedule 4 to the Family Assistance Act).  The amendments made by items 3 and 4 ensure that these amounts are no longer subject to indexation. 

 



Item 5 is an application provision.  It provides that the amendments made by Part 1 this Schedule apply in working out the rate of family tax benefit for days on or after commencement (1 July 2016).

 

Part 2 - Amendments commencing 1 July 2017

 

Amendments to the Family Assistance Act

 

On 1 July 2017, the end-of-year family tax benefit Part A and family tax benefit Part B supplements will be further reduced. 

 

Item 6 repeals subclause 31A(2) of Schedule 1 and substitutes a new subclause 31A(2), which resets the FTB (B) gross supplement amount to $153.30. 

 

Item 7 repeals subclause 38A(3) and substitutes a new subclause 38A(3), which resets the FTB gross supplement amount to $302.95. 

 

Item 8 is an application provision.  It provides that the amendments made by Part 2 of this Schedule apply in working out the rate of family tax benefit for days on or after commencement (1 July 2017).

 

Part 3 - Amendments commencing 1 July 2018

 

Amendments to the Family Assistance Act

 

From 1 July 2018, the end-of-year family tax benefit Part A and family tax benefit Part B supplements will no longer be available. 

 

Division 2A of Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act provides for the rate of the family tax benefit Part B supplement.  Item 20 repeals this Division.

 

Division 2A of Part 5 of Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act provides for the rate of the family tax benefit Part A supplement.  Item 21 repeals this Division.

 

The method statements in clauses 3 and 25 of Schedule 1 set out the steps to be taken in working out an individual’s Part A rate where method 1 and method 2 apply respectively.  Items 13 and 16 remove the paragraphs in these method statements which provide for the family tax benefit Part A supplement to be included in the rate. 

 

Clauses 29 and 29A of Schedule 1 provide rules for calculating an individual’s Part B rate.  Items 17 to 19 amend these clauses to remove paragraphs which provide for the family tax benefit Part B supplement to be included in the rate. 

 

An individual’s supplement amount (defined by reference to the family tax benefit Part A supplement) is relevant in working out an individual’s maintenance income ceiling for certain purposes.  The relevant provisions are clauses 24N and 24R of Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act.  Items 14 and 15 make consequential amendments to these provisions to reflect the repeal of the family tax benefit Part A supplement.

 

Under the current rules, payment of the family tax benefit Part A supplement is linked to the health check and immunisation requirements through sections 61A and 61B of the Family Assistance Act.  Item 12 repeals these sections, while items 9 to 11 make other necessary consequential amendments. 

 

Amendments to the Family Assistance Administration Act

 

Section 32A of the Family Assistance Administration Act currently ensures that the family tax benefit supplements are disregarded in calculating an individual’s rate of family tax benefit unless and until the relevant family tax benefit reconciliation conditions are satisfied.  Section 105A then requires that the Secretary review an individual’s rate under section 105 where the family tax benefit reconciliation conditions are satisfied so as to include the supplements in the rate.  As a consequence of the repeal of the family tax benefit supplements, item 22 repeals section 32A, while item 25 repeals section 105A. 

 

However, the family tax benefit reconciliation conditions are also relevant for other purposes (such as the maintenance income test) and are therefore retained.   Item 23 makes some technical adjustments to the wording of section 32B so that the family tax benefit reconciliation conditions can continue to operate.

 

Item 24 makes a consequential amendment to the definition of adjusted Part A rate in subsection 35D(4) to remove a reference to the repealed clause 38A of Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act.

 

Items 26 to 31 make consequential amendments to various review provisions, which refer to provisions that are being repealed.

 

Item 32 is an application provision.  It provides that the amendments made by Part 3 of this Schedule apply in working out the rate of family tax benefit for days on or after commencement (1 July 2018).

 



STATEMENTS OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the

Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

SOCIAL SERVICES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (FAMILY PAYMENTS STRUCTURAL REFORM AND PARTICIPATION MEASURES) BILL 2015

 

Schedule 1 - Payment rates

 

This Schedule 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 Schedule

The Schedule will deliver more timely assistance to provide better help to families (including income support families) with day-to-day living expenses, and help support children to grow up healthy and participate in educational opportunities, in preparation for becoming self-reliant adults. 

 

From 1 July 2018:

·            Family tax benefit Part A fortnightly rates will increase by $10.08 for each FTB child in the family aged up to 19.

·            An equivalent rate increase, of around $10.44 per fortnight, will apply to youth allowance recipients aged under 18 and living at home.

·            Aligning these two rates of payment will avoid confusion for families, and make sure there is no financial incentive for an FTB child to leave full-time secondary study to claim youth allowance.

·            The rate increases will also flow through to certain other payment rates for young people - the under-18 rates of disability support pension, special benefit and ABSTUDY.

 

Human rights implications

The Schedule engages the following human rights:

Right to social security

The Schedule is consistent with supporting the right to social security.

From 1 July 2018, the Schedule will provide families receiving the standard FTB Part rates a rate increase of $10.08 per fortnight.  An equivalent rate increase, of around $10.44 per fortnight, will apply to youth allowance recipients aged under 18 and living at home.  This rate increase will also flow on to other payment rates that are the same payment rate as the under 18 at home youth allowance maximum basic rate.

 



Conclusion

The amendments in the Schedule are compatible with human rights because they do not limit access to social security or family payments.

 



Schedule 2 - Family tax benefit Part B rate

 

This Schedule 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 Schedule

This Schedule makes amendments to the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999

From 1 July 2016, the Schedule will introduce a new rate structure for family tax benefit Part B, and make other amendments to the rules for Part B, to:

  • increase the standard rate by $1,000.10 per year for families with a youngest child aged under one;
  • introduce a reduced rate of $1,000.10 per year for single parent families with a youngest child aged 13 to 16 (currently $2,784.95), and extend the $1,000.10 rate to couple grandparents with an FTB child in this age range;
  • remove family tax benefit Part B for couple families (other than grandparents) with a youngest child aged 13 or over.

These reforms will improve the sustainability of the family payments system over the long term, while continuing to provide assistance to families in need.

Human rights implications

These amendments engage the following human rights:

Right to social security

Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognises the right of everyone to social security, while article 11 recognises the right to an adequate standard of living for an individual and their family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and the continuous improvement of living conditions.

Rights of the child

Article 26 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child requires countries to recognise the right of the child to benefit from social security.  Benefits should take into account the resources and the circumstances of the child and persons having responsibility for the maintenance of the child.

The objective of the family payment reform measures is to ensure that the family payments system remains sustainable in the long term.  The United Nations Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights recognises that a social security scheme should be sustainable, and that the conditions for benefits must be reasonable and proportionate.

To the extent that introducing a new rate structure for family tax benefit Part B limits the right to social security, this is reasonable and proportionate.  Families will benefit from an increased rate of family tax benefit Part B in the first year of a child’s life.  This supports families who often have a reduced income in this period as a result of new caring requirements.  For families with older children, family tax benefit Part B will be better targeted, encouraging parents to participate in the workforce when care requirements are reduced.  Single parents and couple grandparents will continue to access a rate of Part B until the end of the calendar year in which their youngest child turns 16, recognising that these families may have fewer resources to meet living costs.

Family tax benefit payments will continue to be provided to families to accommodate the cost of raising children.  Families with low incomes will also continue to receive ongoing assistance through various Australian Government payments, which will assist them in maintaining an adequate standard of living.

Conclusion

These amendments are compatible with human rights because they advance the protection of human rights and, to the extent that these changes limit access to family payments, these limitations are reasonable and proportionate and families are otherwise provided for.



Schedule 3 - Family tax benefit supplements

 

This Schedule 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 Schedule

The Schedule will phase out the family tax benefit Part A and Part B supplements by reducing them each year from 1 July 2016.  These supplements will then be withdrawn from 1 July 2018.   The family tax benefit Part A and B supplements are components of the rate of family tax benefit, and are added into the rate after the end of the relevant income year when certain conditions are satisfied.

Human rights implications

These amendments are likely to engage the following human rights:

Right to social security

Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recognises the right of everyone to benefit from social security, while article 11 recognises the right to an adequate standard of living for an individual and their family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and the continuous improvement of living conditions.  This right is engaged by the reduction and eventual removal of the end-of-year supplements for family tax benefit Part A and family tax benefit Part B.  Families affected by this measure are still eligible to receive fortnightly payments of family tax benefit to assist with the costs of raising children.  The purpose of these fortnightly payments is to ensure an adequate standard of living for Australian children.

Rights of the child

Article 26 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child requires countries to recognise the right of the child to benefit from social security.  Benefits should take into account the resources and the circumstances of the child and persons having responsibility for the maintenance of the child.

The United Nations Committee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights has stated that a social security scheme should be sustainable and that the conditions for benefits must be reasonable, proportionate and transparent.  This right is engaged by the reduction and eventual removal of the end-of-year supplements for family tax benefit Part A and family tax benefit Part B.  However, this limitation is necessary and proportionate to the legitimate aim of ensuring that family tax benefit as a social security scheme continues to be sustainable.  Families affected by this measure are still eligible to receive fortnightly payments of family tax benefit to assist with the costs of raising children.

Conclusion

These amendments are compatible with human rights because they do not limit or preclude people from gaining or maintaining access to social security in Australia and, to the extent that these changes limit access to family payments, these limitations are reasonable and proportionate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[Circulated by the authority of the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Christian Porter MP]