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Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Building on the Child Care Package) Bill 2019

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2019

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Building on the Child Care Package) Bill 2019

 

 

 

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amendments to be Moved on Behalf of the Government

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by the authority of the Minister for Education, the Honourable Dan Tehan MP)



Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Building on the Child Care Package) Bill 2019

 

OUTLINE

 

 

The Government amendments to the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Building on the Child Care Package) Bill 2019 (the Bill) are in response to submissions made to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee’s (Committee) inquiry and report tabled on 11 October 2019 into the Bill, and include beneficial provisions for individuals making claims for Child Care Subsidy (CCS).

 

The amendments to the Bill include an exemption provision that will enable individuals to make an effective CCS claim without their or their current partner’s tax file number (TFN), but require it to be given within 28 days. Amendments will also allow an individual to be indefinitely exempt from providing their partner’s TFN as part of their CCS claim in limited circumstances. The Secretary of the Department of Education, or her delegate, will be able to make these determinations on a case by case basis.

 

There are also consequential amendments to the information requirements that must be met when determining entitlement to CCS in A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 (Family Assistance Administration Act). These amendments will allow individuals who were exempt from providing their own or their partner’s TFN when making a claim to also meet information requirements and continue to be entitled to receive CCS. They will also allow an individual to be exempt from providing the TFN of any future partners in situations where the Secretary is satisfied that it is unreasonable to require this information. 

 

Financial Impact

 

The amendments to the Bill do not have a financial impact on the Commonwealth.

 

 

 



 

PROPOSED GOVERNMENT AMENDMENTS

 

The Government proposes the following amendments to the Bill.

Amendments (1), (2), (3) and (4)

Increasing flexibility in making CCS claims

Under the Family Assistance Administration Act, an individual is able to make an effective CCS claim without providing their (or their partner’s) TFN details. These details must generally be provided within 28 days of the claim. If the individual does not provide these details within 28 days, the claim is taken never to have been made, with the consequence that any payments during this timeframe can result in a debt.

The Bill amends various provisions in the Family Assistance Administration Act to simplify and make clear the CCS claim requirements. One result of these amendments is that the TFN details of the individual and their partner must be provided at the time the claim is made, removing the 28 day period to provide a TFN.

A number of public submissions to the Committee raised concerns that removing this 28 day period would be detrimental for families, particularly those in difficult or vulnerable circumstances, such as individuals experiencing domestic violence. The Government amendments address these concerns.

Amendment (1) updates section 67BE of the Family Assistance Administration Act to include new subsection (1) to reflect the changes made through Amendment (2).

Amendment (2) will insert a new item 35A in the Bill to amend section 67BE of the Family Assistance Administration Act by inserting new subsections (2) and (3) to give the Secretary power to determine that a claim is effective despite it not containing the individual’s or their partner’s TFN at the time the claim is made, where the Secretary considers it appropriate to do so in the circumstances.

Under new subsection 67BE(2), the Secretary may exempt a claim from the requirement to include the individual’s and their partner’s TFN for a period of 28 days. 

Under new subsection 67BE(3), the Secretary may exempt a claim from the requirement for the individual to provide their partner’s TFN indefinitely in exceptional circumstances. For example, where an individual is in a violent or abusive relationship and cannot reasonably obtain their partner’s TFN.

Amendment (3) amends item 36 of the Bill to amend subsection 67BF(2) of the Family Assistance Administration Act. Under new subsection 67BF(2), if the Secretary has made a determination under new subsection 67BE(2), and the individual does not provide their TFN and/or their partner’s TFN within 28 days of that determination being made, their CCS claim is taken never to have been made. Consequently, any payments made following the claim and the expiry of the 28 days becomes a debt. The obligation for an individual to provide their partner’s TFN in order to make an effective claim is further subject to the Secretary granting an exemption under new subsection 67BE(3). New subsection 67BF(3) provides that the Secretary’s rules may prescribe other circumstances in which a claim is taken not to have been made.

Consequential amendment to information requirements for CCS entitlement determinations

Following an effective CCS claim, the Secretary must determine whether the individual is eligible for CCS, and if so, may make determinations of the individual’s entitlements to be paid CCS for a week. To make a determination of an individual’s entitlement to CCS, the Secretary must be satisfied, among other things, that the individual meets the information requirements in subsection 67CD(10) of the Family Assistance Administration Act. The Bill amends the existing information requirements so that the Secretary has the TFN of both the individual and their partner (if applicable) at the time a determination on entitlement is made.

Amendment (4) amends item 41 of the Bill to substitute paragraph 67CD(10)(b). An individual has to meet the information requirements specified at paragraph 67CD(10)(b) to be entitled to be paid CCS or Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS). An individual meets the information requirements at paragraph 67CD(10)(b) so long as they meet any of the requirements listed at new subparagraphs 67CD(10)(b)(i) to (iv).

New subparagraph 67CD(10)(b)(i) provides that where the Secretary has the TFN of each TFN determination person, the individual has met the requirement at paragraph 67CD(10)(b).

New subparagraph 67CD(10)(b)(ii) provides that where the Secretary made a determination under subsection 67BE(2) or (3) of the Family Assistance Administration Act in relation to the individual’s claim no more than 28 days ago, the information requirements are taken to have been met. This means that an individual may receive CCS or ACCS where they have not provided their (or their partner’s) TFN.

In addition, the Secretary has an existing power to request the individual’s partner’s TFN by making a request under section 67FG of the Family Assistance Administration Act. Under new subparagraph 67CD(10)(b)(iii), an individual meets the information requirements if the Secretary made a request of the individual under section 67FG no more than 28 days ago.

New subparagraph 67CD(10)(b)(iv) provides that the information requirements are met where the individual has provided their own TFN and the Secretary is satisfied on a case by case basis that it is unreasonable in the circumstances for the individual to provide the TFN of the individual’s current partner. This may include where the Secretary has made a determination under new subsection 67BE(3).