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Monday, 19 March 2018
Page: 1494

Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister for Jobs and Innovation) (18:00): In terms of the targeted compliance framework in schedule 15, the Labor amendment introducing broader discretion to the targeted compliance framework would actually retain one of the ineffective features of the current compliance framework which allows providers to effectively ignore noncompliance when the jobseeker has no reasonable excuse. This results in inconsistent and unfair application of penalties. The National Social Security Rights Network acknowledged this in its evidence at the Senate committee hearing, stating that the new framework:

… deals with a range of problems in the existing system. They include an arbitrary levelling of penalties depending on a provider discretion …

Under the new compliance framework, providers will still exercise discretion as to whether or not they find the excuse offered by the jobseeker to be acceptable, in which case no financial penalty or demerit will be applied. The appointment will just be rebooked, as currently occurs. However, they will be unable to ignore blatant noncompliance with no excuse. DHS will also retain the discretion they currently have in relation to all decisions about applying financial penalties.