Thursday, 2 October 2014
Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 4) Bill 2014; Second Reading
That this bill be now read a second time.
This bill reintroduces several measures previously introduced in the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 1) Bill 2014 and the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014.
The first reintroduced measure will implement some changes to Australian government payments. Firstly, from 1 July 2015, indexation of the income-free areas for all working-age allowances (other than student payments), and the income test-free area for parenting payment single, will be paused for three years.
From royal assent, parenting payment single will be indexed to the consumer price index only, by removing benchmarking to male total average weekly earnings.
From 1 July 2015, indexation of several family tax benefit-free areas will be paused for three years.
Lastly, from 1 January 2015, indexation of the income-free areas and other means-test thresholds for student payments, including the student income bank limits, will be paused for three years.
The bill will introduce four family payment reforms from 1 July 2015. The first is to maintain the standard FTB child rates for two years in the maximum and base rate of family tax benefit part A and the maximum rate of family tax benefit part B.
The second measure will revise the family tax benefit end-of-year supplements to their original values and cease indexation.
Family tax benefit part B will be limited to families with children under six years of age, with transitional arrangements applying to current recipients with children above the new age limit for two years.
A new allowance will be introduced for single parents on the maximum rate of family tax benefit part A for each child aged six to 12 years inclusive, and not receiving family tax benefit part B.
The bill will extend and simplify the ordinary waiting period for all working-age payments from 1 January 2015.
Both the pensioner education supplement and the education entry payment will be ceased from 1 January 2015.
From 1 January 2015, the bill will extend youth allowance (other) to 22- to 24-year-olds in lieu of Newstart allowance and sickness allowance. Young people with full capacity will be required to learn, earn or Work for the Dole from 1 January 2015.
Lastly, from 1 January 2015, the bill will remove the three months' backdating of disability pensions under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986.
This bill forms part of a package of bills to support the sustainability of the social security system and the nation's budget. I commend this bill to the House.