Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures) Bill 2020; In Committee
I move opposition amendment (1) on sheet 8887 revised:
(1) Page 2 (after line 14), after clause 3, insert:
4 Review of operation of amendments
(1) The Minister must cause an independent review to be conducted of the operation of the amendments made by this Act.
(2) The review must start as soon as practicable after the end of 12 months after this Act commences.
(3) The persons who conduct the review must give the Minister a written report of the review within 6 months of the commencement of the review.
(4) The persons who conduct the review must consult:
(a) income support recipients impacted by the amendments made by this Act; and
(b) persons who have expertise in social security law; and
(c) persons who have expertise in any other area of public policy considered relevant by the persons who conduct the review.
(5) The review must provide for public submissions as part of the review.
(6) The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the report is given to the Minister.
(7) In this section, Minister means the Minister administering the Social Security Act 1991.
This amendment proposes a review in 12 months and that the person who conducts the review must give the minister a written report of the review within six months of the commencement of the review.
The changes in this bill will impact 150,000 people a fortnight, and it's critical that they work fairly and effectively. This amendment will require an independent review that consults experts and social security recipients. It has been requested by the stakeholders and it is a reasonable request. Indeed, government senators recommended a 12-month review of the bill in their report on this bill. The minister has indicated that the government will conduct such a review, and I say to her: why not back this amendment then?
It is understood that many of the rules around how these changes will operate on a detailed basis will be in the Guide to Social Security Law. Labor accepts that all the detail cannot and should not be in the legislation and that some flexibility in implementation is necessary. But the trade-off, the security that must be offered, is an ironclad guarantee or commitment to the independent review and, as I have said, to the review being handed to the minister within six months of its commissioning.