Thursday, 22 June 2023
Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management Reform) Bill 2023; In Committee
I move the amendment on sheet 1972 revised:
(1) Page 66 (after line 14), at the end of the Bill, add:
Schedule 3 — Obligations of Minister: reporting
Social Security (Administration) Act 1999
1 At the end of Part 7
243B Tabling of report relating to effect of cessation of cashless welfare arrangements
(1) As soon as practicable after the end of each reporting period, the Minister must prepare a report on the social effect of the cessation of cashless welfare arrangements in each of the program areas.
(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the report must outline, in respect of each of the program areas, rates of, and trends in:
(a) violent crimes reported to police;
(b) presentations to hospital emergency departments, as follows:
(i) overall presentations;
(ii) drug or alcohol-related presentations;
(c) ambulance call-outs, as follows;
(i) overall call-outs;
(ii) drug or alcohol-related call-outs;
(d) reportable incidents of domestic violence;
(e) referrals from Services Australia to:
(i) social workers; and
(ii) alcohol counselling services; and
(iii) domestic violence counselling services; and
(iv) gambling counselling services.
Note: Examples of violent crime include, but are not limited to, the offence categories of homicide, assault, sexual assault and robbery (both armed and unarmed).
(3) The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be:
(a) published on the Department's website as soon as practicable after the completion of the report; and
(b) tabled in each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the report is published under paragraph (a).
(4) In this section:
cashless welfare arrangements has the same meaning as set out in Part 3D of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 as in force immediately before the day on which Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Repeal of Cashless Debit Card and Other Measures) Act 2022 commenced.
program area has the same meaning as set out in section 124PD of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 as in force immediately before the day on which Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Repeal of Cashless Debit Card and Other Measures) Act 2022 commenced.
reporting period means the following:
(a) the period of 6 months beginning on the day this section commences;
(b) each subsequent 6-month period ending 3 years after this section commences.
The reason the coalition is moving this substantive amendment is so that for a period of three years from royal assent the government must publish details of key metrics of social harm within all the former cashless debit card sites, including, but not limited to, rates of violent crime, presentations to emergency departments and ambulance call-outs reported with incidents of domestic violence. In the absence of having these sorts of measures, how on earth can the government measure the success or otherwise of their decisions? We think that, as soon as practicable after the end of each reporting period, the minister must prepare a report on the social effects of the cessation of the cashless welfare arrangements in each of the program areas.
If they don't do this, this is just another action of the government in not being transparent. This is an opaque government, unless, of course, they are prepared to support this reasonable amendment. These are the very issues that we were seeking to avoid by the introduction of the cashless debit card. The removal of the cashless debit card has already seen a significant increase in these kinds of harmful behaviours, and we call on the government to support us not only in the interest of transparency but also, most importantly, in the interest of people in the communities that this impacts.