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Social Services Legislation Amendment (Low Income Supplement) Bill 2015



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ISSN 1328-8091

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BILLS DIGEST NO. 33, 2015-16 15 OCTOBER 2015

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Low Income Supplement) Bill 2015 Michael Klapdor Social Policy Section This Bills Digest should be read in conjunction with the Bills Digest for the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Youth Employment and Other Measures) Bill 2015.

Contents

History of the Bill ................................................................. 2

Structure of the Bill Digest ................................................... 2

Purpose of the Bill ............................................................... 2

Committee consideration .................................................... 2

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights .................... 2

Concluding comments ......................................................... 2

Date introduced: 16 September 2015

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Social Services

Commencement: Parts 1, 2 and 4 of Schedule 1 on 1 July 2017; item 20 and item 21 of Schedule 1 on dates contingent on the passing of the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Student Measures) Bill 2015 as outlined in the table at clause 2; the remaining sections on Royal Assent.

Links: The links to the Bill, its Explanatory Memorandum and second reading speech can be found on the Bill’s home page, or through the Australian Parliament website.

When Bills have been passed and have received Royal Assent, they become Acts, which can be found at the ComLaw website.

Warning: All viewers of this digest are advised to visit the disclaimer appearing at the end of this document. The disclaimer sets out the status and purpose of the digest. Social Services Legislation Amendment (Low Income Supplement) Bill 2015 2

History of the Bill The provisions of the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Low Income Supplement) Bill 2015 (the Bill) were previously proposed in Schedule 4 of the Social Services Legislation (Youth Employment and Other Measures) Bill 2015 (the previous Bill).1

The previous Bill passed the House of Representatives on 24 June 2015 but was negatived in the Senate on 9 September 2015. The Labor Opposition was not opposed to Schedule 4 of the previous Bill but was opposed to the other components of that Bill. The Opposition circulated amendments in the Senate to attempt to split Schedule 4 of the Bill but the whole Bill was put to a vote by the Government and negatived with the Opposition, the Australian Greens and Senators Lambie, Lazarus, Muir, Wang and Xenophon voting against the Bill.2

Structure of the Bill Digest The provisions in this Bill are identical to those in Schedule 4 of the previous Bill. For background and analysis of the measures proposed in this Bill see the Bills Digest for the previous Bill.3

Purpose of the Bill The Bill will amend the Social Security Act 1991, the Social Security Administration Act 1999, the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 and the Taxation Administration Act 1953 to abolish the Low Income Supplement and the Low Income Family Supplement (LIS/LIFS).4 These payments provide an annual lump sum payment worth up to $300 to a small number of lower-income households who have not received the same level of assistance as other low-income families have from tax cuts or social security payments introduced to offset the average expected cost impact of the carbon price implemented by the Gillard Government in 2012.5 The measure was announced in the 2015-16 Budget, will commence on 1 July 2017 and is expected to save $42.9 million over four years.6 In 2012-13 there were 7,615 LIS recipients.7

Committee consideration On 16 September 2015, the Senate Selection of Bills Committee resolved to not refer the Bill to a committee.8

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights As required under Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth), the Government has assessed the Bill’s compatibility with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of that Act. The Government considers that the Bill is compatible.9

Concluding comments As noted in the Bills Digest for the previous Bill, the LIS/LIFS is a relatively small payment to a relatively small number of households and administratively complex. However, it was an important component of the Household Assistance package which ensured households at the same income level would receive similar levels of compensation for the introduction of carbon pricing. With the carbon price removed, it is questionable whether or not the LIS/LIFS is needed. However, abolishing the payment is inconsistent with the Government’s pre-election commitment to remove the carbon price while keeping the compensation measures.10

1. Parliament of Australia, ‘Social Services Legislation Amendment (Youth Employment and Other Measures) Bill 2015 homepage’, Australian Parliament website, accessed 14 October 2015. 2. Ibid.; Australia, Senate, Journals, (proof), 113, 2013-15, 9 September 2015, p. 3076, accessed 14 October 2015. 3. See M Klapdor and M Thomas, Social Services Legislation Amendment (Youth Employment and Other Measures) Bill 2015, Bills digest, 120,

2014-15, Parliamentary Library, Canberra, 15 June 2015, accessed 14 October 2015. 4. The Low Income Family Supplement (LIFS) is an administrative name for the Low Income Supplement (LIS) as it is paid to Family Tax Benefit recipients and to one member of a couple if eligible. 5. P Yeend and L Buckmaster, Clean Energy (Household Assistance Amendments) Bill 2011, Bills digest, 58, 2011-12, Parliamentary Library,

Canberra, 21 November 2011, p. 28, accessed 14 October 2015. 6. Australian Government, Budget measures: budget paper no. 2: 2015-16, p. 162, accessed 14 October 2015. 7. Senate Community Affairs Committee, Answers to Questions on Notice, Social Services Portfolio, Additional Estimates 2013-14, 27 February 2014, Question 350, Attachment A, accessed 14 October 2015. 8. Senate Selection of Bills Committee, Report, 12, 2015, The Senate, Canberra, p. 3, accessed 14 October 2015. 9. The Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights can be found at page 6 of the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill. Explanatory

Memorandum, Social Services Legislation Amendment (Low Income Supplement) Bill 2015, p. 6, accessed 14 October 2015. 10. T Abbott, ‘Second reading speech: Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2013’, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 November 2013, p. 74, accessed 14 October 2015.

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