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Protecting Pensioners from the Cashless Debit Card Bill 2021

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2019-2020-2021

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protecting Pensioners form the Cashless Debit Card Bill 2021

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

and

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circulated by authority of

The Member for Bruce, Julian Hill MP



PROTECTING PENSIONERS FROM THE CASHLESS DEBIT CARD BILL 2021

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The Protecting Pensioners from the Cashless Debit Card Bill 2021 (the Bill) will amend the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (the Act) to repeal law that allows the Government to compel social security recipients to use the Cashless Debit Card.

This will end the Government’s Cashless Debit Card program from 31 January 2022.

The Bill also requires that the Minister prepare a Local Services and Jobs Plan for the Ceduna, East Kimberly, Goldfields, and Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Cape York areas. The plan must be developed in partnership with the community and outline evidence-based proposals to create local jobs, improve community services and address social issues in each area.

The Minister will also be required to publish:

·          The full cost to the Commonwealth of the operation of the Cashless Debit Card scheme.

·          Each contract between the Commonwealth and Indue Ltd. Relating to the operation of the Cashless Debit Card, considering commercial-in-confidence information.

·          Copies of all documents relating to the Cashless Debit Card Technology Working Group and product level blocking.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The bill will have no financial impact.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 sets out how the new Act will be cited - the Protecting Pensioners from the Cashless Debit Card Act 2021 .

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

Clause 3 provides that the Act that is specified in the Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule that has effect according to its terms.



 

Schedule 1 - Amendments

Social Security (Administration) Act 1999

Items 1 Section 123UP(4) of the Act relates to the interaction between the Cashless Debit Card and income management in the Northern Territory. This item changes the date from which the Minister can make transitionary rules, so it aligns with the date this Bill will cause the Cashless Debit Card regime to cease.

Items 2-3 Will cause the Cashless Debit Card regime to sunset on 31 January 2022 and allow the Minister to make transitionary rules from 1 February 2022.

SCHEDULE 2 - OBLIGATIONS OF THE MINISTER

Item 1 Outlines definitions relevant to this part of the Bill.

Item 2 Requires that the Minister prepare a Local Services and Jobs Plan (the Plan) for the Ceduna, East Kimberly, Goldfields, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, and Cape York areas. The Plan must propose evidence-based local investments to support the creation of local jobs, improve local community services and address local social issues.

In making the Plan the Minister must consult with local community organisations, First Nations organisation, health services and businesses, as well as state and local government.

For the Cape York area, the plan must also outline transitionary arrangements necessary to support the continued operation of the Family Responsibilities Commission including limited income management.

The Minister is required to publish the Plan by 31 January 2022, and table it in each House of Parliament within 3 sitting days of publication.

This item also outlines the constitutional basis for the Plan.

Item 3 Requires the Minister to publish a written estimate of the full cost of the Commonwealth’s operation of the Cashless Debit Card scheme, and table the estimate in both Houses of Parliament.

Item 4 Requires the Minister to publish each contract between the Commonwealth and Indue Ltd relating to the operation of the of the Cashless Debit Card scheme, taking into account commercial-in-confidence information. This information must be published by 31 December 2021, or within 7 days of the item commencing, and tabled in both Houses of Parliament within 3 sitting days of its publication.

Item 5 Requires the Minister to publish all documents relating to the Cashless Debit Card Technology Working Group and product level blocking. This information must be published within 7 days of the commencement of the item and tables in both Houses of Parliament within 3 sitting days of its publication.

 



 

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

Protecting Pensioners from the Cashless Debit Card Bill 2021

 

This Bill 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 Bill

 

The Protecting Pensioners from the Cashless Debit Card Bill 2021 (the Bill) will amend the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 (the Act) to repeal law that allows the Government to compel social security recipients to use the Cashless Debit Card.

This will end the Government’s Cashless Debit Card program from 31 January 2022.

The Bill also requires that the Minister prepare a Local Services and Jobs Plan for the Ceduna, East Kimberly, Goldfields, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, and Cape York areas. The plan must be developed in partnership with the community and outline evidence-based proposals to create local jobs, improve community services and address social issues in each area.

The Minister will also be required to publish:

·          The full cost to the Commonwealth of the operation of the Cashless Debit Card scheme.

·          Each contract between the Commonwealth and Indue Ltd. Relating to the operation of the Cashless Debit Card, considering commercial-in-confidence information.

·          Copies of all documents relating to the Cashless Debit Card Technology Working Group and product level blocking.

Human rights implications

 

The Bill engages the following rights:

 

·          the right to self-determination under Article 1 of the  International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights  (ICESCR); and

·          the right to social security under Article 9 of the  International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights  (ICESCR).

Right to self-determination

Article 1 of the ICESCR requires the State Parties to the Covenant to recognise the right of people to pursue freely their own economic, cultural and social development.

 

The Cashless Debit Cars is imposed on people regardless of their individual circumstances. People who are put onto the Cashless Debit Card face restrictions in their daily life because they are in receipt of a social security payment.

 

This Bill will strengthen this right by removing restrictions on economic, social and cultural development imposed the Cashless Debit Card.

  

Right to social security

 

Article 1 of the ICESCR requires the State Parties to the Covenant to recognise the right of everyone to social security.

 

The Cashless Debit Card frustrates this right by placing restriction on how people can access social security and how they can use social security payments - including pensions - to secure the necessities of life and participate in social, cultural and economic activities.

 

This Bill will strengthen this right by removing restrictions on how people can access social security.

 

Conclusion

This Bill is compatible with human rights because it advances the protection and enjoyment of human rights.

 

Member for Bruce, Julian Hill MP