Senate debates

Monday, 24 November 2014


Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme Bill 2014, Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2014; In Committee

7:37 pm

Photo of Mitch FifieldMitch Fifield (Victoria, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Social Services) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you, Senator Moore, for your comments. In relation to the issue of financial advice, the government—the Department of Social Services—is consulting with peaks as to what the most appropriate mechanism is. There will be a requirement for someone who wants to be a participant in the payment scheme to furnish a certificate that they have received that financial advice. The cost of that financial advice will be borne by the government. In fact, one of our miscellaneous amendments does make clearer the fact that the government will have the capacity to, and does intend to, pay for that sort of financial counselling.

In relation to the Australian Law Reform Commission report, which, fortuitously or coincidently, hit the decks of the Senate today, it is the government's intention that the draft rules—the rules that will flesh out the scheme—will require nominees to comply with the principles from the Australian Law Reform Commission report—namely, that every adult has the right to make decisions that affect their life and to have those decisions respected; that persons who may require support in decision making must be provided with the support necessary for them to make, communicate and participate in the decisions that affect their lives; that the will, preferences and rights of persons who may require decision-making support must direct decisions that affect their lives; and that decisions, arrangements and interventions for persons who may require decision-making support must respect their human rights.

I can also indicate that the duties of a nominee in the scheme will include the following: a nominee must support decision making by the participant personally; a nominee must have regard and give appropriate weight to the views of the participant; a nominee must become sufficiently familiar with the financial affairs of the participant so that the nominee can discharge his or her duties under the act and the rules; a nominee must avoid or manage any conflict of interest in relation to the nominee and the participant; if more than one person is appointed as nominee a further duty of each of them is to consult with the others before doing any act under, or for the purposes of, the act; a nominee must provide support to the participant to express their preferences in making decisions with respect to accepting or declining an offer from the BSWAT Payment Scheme; a nominee must communicate to the participant the process, decision and implications of decisions relating to the BSWAT Payment Scheme; a nominee must promote and safeguard the participant's human rights and act in a way least restrictive of those rights when making decisions relating to the BSWAT Payment Scheme; and a nominee must recognise and respect the cultural and linguistic circumstances of the participant and ensure an appropriate form of communication, for the purposes of communicating about the BSWAT Payment Scheme, is used. There are a number of other provisions. I have given a fair indication of what the rules will be stating. As I said, they do seek to reflect the Australian Law Reform Commission's principles.


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