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Social Security Legislation Amendment (Remote Engagement Program) Bill 2021

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2019-2020-2021

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

SENATE

 

  

SOCIAL SECURITY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT

(REMOTE ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM) BILL 2021

    

ADDENDUM TO THE EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 



(Circulated by the authority of the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Honourable Ken Wyatt AM MP)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOCIAL SECURITY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT

(REMOTE ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM) BILL 2021

This addendum responds to concerns raised by the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills in Scrutiny Digest 16 of 2021.

After paragraph 2, Purpose and objectives

2A. The Social Security Legislation Amendment (Remote Engagement Program) Bill 2021 has been specifically designed to facilitate co-design and the legislative instruments are an important feature of the co-design process and will enable flexible approaches in the Remote Engagement Program trial regions.

2B. The Bill sets out high level parameters, with further detail to be set out in legislative instruments that will be informed by the outcomes of the co-design process in trial regions. The Bill is not pre-empting the outcomes of the co-design process, but instead is providing one building block that communities can choose to use as they design their program with Government.

After paragraph 6, Purpose and objectives

6A. Australians living in remote communities face complex employment challenges, different from those experienced in regional and urban areas. Remote communities know what they need and what employment services solutions will work in their region to better match local economic circumstances and opportunities.

6B. As part of the 2021-22 Budget the Government announced the Community Development Program would be replaced with a Remote Engagement Program in 2023, with the new program to be co-designed and trialled in five regions across remote Australia from late 2021. The trials will be co-designed locally with the learnings from the trials to inform the co-design of a national program in 2023.

6C. A Local Co-design Working Group, comprising local community representatives, job seekers, the CDP service provider(s),  local businesses and all levels of government, will be established in each trial region.

After paragraph 35, Schedule 1—Amendments, Part 1—Main amendments relating to remote engagement program payment, Social Security Act 1991, Division 1 -Qualification for and payability of remote engagement program payment, Subdivision A - Qualification

35A. The Bill has been specifically designed to facilitate co-design and the legislative instruments are an important feature of the co-design process and will enable flexible approaches in the trial regions.

35B. The Government plans to bring to the table a number of building blocks that communities can draw upon when co-designing their trial program. The Remote Engagement Placement and Remote Engagement Program payment is one building block. Other building blocks might include:

·          options to access non-vocational support, like family, aged care, disability or mental health services

·          options to build vocational skills and training for job seekers

·          options to support job seekers find jobs and apprenticeships.

 

35C. This Bill is one building block which Remote Engagement Program trial regions can use when co-designing their trial Remote Engagement Program.

35D. The Bill provides an option for regions to trial a new supplementary payment in the social security system for job seekers to participate in a Remote Engagement Placement in a local community service, such as a school, to build their skills and experience and provide a pathway to employment in the open labour market.

35E. Through the co-design process, the community in partnership with Government will set the amount of the Remote Engagement Program payment and the hours of engagement in the pilot sites. Communities will set rules about participation through the co-design process. For example, they might choose to set a ‘three strikes and you are out’ policy for participating in a Remote Engagement Placement. That is, if the job seeker has an unexplained absence or behaves inappropriately when participating in the Remote Engagement Placement, they will be asked to leave the Remote Engagement Placement and the position will be offered to another eligible job seeker. Communities may also consider what personal or cultural circumstances should be taken into account when managing a person’s participation.

35F. This will enable the Remote Engagement Program trials to provide more tailored support to meet the needs of the communities and the job seeker, rather than a one size fits all approach.

35G. Government will publish the outcomes of the co-design process for full transparency.

35H. This approach is not purely a matter of administrative flexibility. Rather, it is an approach consistent with the commitment to build and strengthen “structures that empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to share decision-making authority with governments to accelerate policy and place-based progress against Closing the Gap” (Priority Reform One of the Closing the Gap Agreement).

35I. The matters that may be included in delegated legislation under proposed paragraph 661A(2)(c) are necessary to ensure sufficient consultation, transparency and flexibility for outcomes that may arise following the co-design process with community.

35J. Including such matters in primary legislation before the outcomes of the co-design process are known would not provide the same degree of consultation, transparency and flexibility.

35K. The exercise of ministerial discretion will occur in accordance with the legislative intent of the Bill and the Australian Government’s policies in relation to the Remote Engagement Program.

35L. In accordance with requirements for making legislative instruments under the Legislation Act 2003 , the Minister must be satisfied that appropriate consultation has been undertaken in relation to the delegated legislation under proposed paragraph 661A(2)(c).

35M. In addition, any delegated legislation made under proposed provision 661A(2)(c) would be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny, disallowance and sunsetting measures.

After paragraph 41 , Schedule 1—Amendments, Part 1—Main amendments relating to remote engagement program payment, Social Security Act 1991 , Division 2 - Qualification for and payability of remote engagement program payment, Subdivision B—Payability

41A The matters that may be included in delegated legislation under new subsection 661C(2) are necessary to ensure sufficient consultation, transparency and flexibility for outcomes that may arise following the outcomes of the co-design process with community.

41B. Including such matters in primary legislation before the outcomes of the co-design process are known would signal the Government is pre-empting the outcomes of the co-design process.

41C. In accordance with requirements for making legislative instruments under the Legislation Act 2003 , the Minister must be satisfied that appropriate consultation has been undertaken in relation to new subsection 661C(2).

41D. In addition, any delegated legislation made under new subsection 661C(2) would be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny, disallowance and sunsetting measures.