Status of Legislation

This page provides information on DSS legislation, which either was finalised during the last sittings or is currently before the Parliament. More information is available on the Bills and Legislation page on the Parliament of Australia website, or by calling the DSS Legislation Liaison Officer on +61-2-6146 3173.

Update – Wednesday 8 July 2015

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Fair and Sustainable Pensions) Act 2015

Content:

This Act rebalances the assets test parameters by increasing the assets test free areas and the taper rate by which a pension is reduced once the free areas are exceeded. Those whose pension is cancelled will automatically be issued with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, or a Health Care Card for those under pension age, without the need to meet the usual income requirements. Veterans whose service pension is cancelled under this measure will retain their Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card.

Current status:

  • Introduced into the Parliament on 4 June 2015.
  • Amended and passed by the House of Representatives on 22 June 2015.
  • Passed by the Senate as amended on 22 June 2015.

Date of Royal Assent: 30 June 2015

Act No.: 110 of 2015

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Defined Benefit Income Streams) Act 2015

Content:

This Act ensures that a fairer proportion of a superannuant’s actual defined benefit income is taken into account when applying the social security income test by introducing a 10 per cent cap on the income that can be excluded from the test. The measure does not apply to military superannuation schemes.

Current status:

  • Introduced into the Parliament on 23 June 2015.
  • Passed by the House of Representatives on 23 June 2015.
  • Passed by the Senate on 24 June 2015.

Date of Royal Assent: 30 June 2015

Act No.: 107 of 2015

Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Seniors Supplement Cessation) Act 2015

Content:

This Act (introduced as the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Seniors Supplement Cessation) Bill 2014) ceases payment of the seniors supplement for holders of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or the Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card.

Current status:

  • Introduced into the Parliament on 2 October 2014.
  • Passed by the House of Representatives on 22 October 2014.
  • Amended and passed by the Senate on 22 June 2015.
  • Finally passed by the House of Representatives on 22 June 2015.

Date of Royal Assent: 26 June 2015

Act No.: 91 of 2015

Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme Act 2015
Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme (Consequential Amendments) Act 2015

Content:

The first of these Acts (introduced as the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme Bill 2014) establishes a payment scheme for supported employees with intellectual impairment in Australian Disability Enterprises who previously had their wages assessed under the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool.

The second Act (introduced as the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2014) provides the necessary consequential amendments – to ensure the payments are eligible income for the lump sum in arrears tax offset, to ensure the payments are not income-tested under the social security law and Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986, and to make sure personal information can be obtained and disclosed for the purposes of administering the new scheme.

Current status:

  • Introduced into the Parliament on 5 June 2014.
  • Passed by the House of Representatives on 17 June 2014.
  • Amendments and requests for amendments to the first Bill were agreed by the Senate on 24 November 2014, but both Bills were then negatived in Committee of the Whole.
  • However, both Bills were recommitted to the Senate on 17 March 2015.
  • Further amendments and requests for amendments to the first Bill were agreed by the Senate on 15 June 2015.
  • The Bills were finally passed, as amended, on 17 June 2015.

Date of Royal Assent: 30 June 2015

Acts No.: 111 and 112 of 2015 respectively

Fairer Paid Parental Leave Bill 2015

Content:

This Bill will ensure Government-funded payments under the Paid Parental Leave scheme are more fairly targeted to parents who do not also have sufficient access to employer-provided parental leave or similar payments. Parents will no longer be able to receive employer-provided primary carer leave payments (or other like payments) as well as the full amount of parental leave pay under the Paid Parental Leave scheme.

The Bill also removes the requirement for employers to provide Government-funded parental leave pay to their eligible long-term employees. Employees will be paid directly by the Department of Human Services, unless an employer opts in to provide parental leave pay to its employees and an employee agrees to their employer paying them.

Current status:

  • Introduced into the Parliament on 25 June 2015.
  • Awaiting debate in the House of Representatives.

Date of Royal Assent:

Act No.:

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Youth Employment and Other Measures) Bill 2015

Content:

This Bill introduces a number of measures:

  • exclude widow allowance claimants from the one-week ordinary waiting period for working age payments;
  • delay the start date for the measure increasing the age of eligibility for newstart allowance and sickness allowance;
  • introduce a revised four-week waiting period for youth income support (replacing the 2014 Budget measure that required young people with full capacity to serve a six month waiting period for income support, with access to payment for six months and rolling six month non payment periods thereafter);
  • cease the low income supplement;
  • maintain at level for three years certain income free areas and other means test thresholds for working age allowances, student payments and parenting payment single.

Current status:

  • Introduced into the Parliament on 28 May 2015.
  • Passed by the House of Representatives on 24 June 2015.
  • Awaiting debate in the Senate.

Date of Royal Assent:

Act No.:

Social Services Legislation Amendment (No. 2) Bill 2015

Content:

This Bill streamlines the current income management programme under a two-year continuation. Income management and the BasicsCard will continue for two additional years to maintain support for existing income management participants. The streamlining amendments will enable more effective operation of the income management programme.

The Bill also ceases payment of the residential care subsidy to residential aged care providers for holding a place for up to seven days prior to a care recipient entering care.

Lastly, the Bill amends the aged care legislation to reflect the Government’s decision to abolish the Aged Care Planning Advisory Committees as part of the Smaller Government initiative.

Current status:

  • Introduced into the Parliament on 28 May 2015.
  • Passed by the House of Representatives on 15 June 2015.
  • Awaiting debate in the Senate.

Date of Royal Assent:

Act No.:

Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

Content:

This Bill provides that a person who is undergoing psychiatric confinement because they have been charged with a serious offence will be taken to be in psychiatric confinement for the purpose of the social security law, irrespective of whether the person is undertaking a course of rehabilitation. One of the effects of this is that relevant social security payments will not be payable to the person while the person is undergoing that psychiatric confinement.

Current status:

  • Introduced into the Parliament on 25 March 2015.
  • Passed by the House of Representatives on 28 May 2015.
  • Awaiting debate in the Senate.

Date of Royal Assent:

Act No.:

Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 4) Bill 2014

Content:

This Bill currently contains the following 2014 Budget measures:

  • maintain at current levels for certain periods the standard FTB child rates and certain income free areas and means test thresholds for Australian Government payments, and index Parenting Payment Single to the CPI only,
  • revise the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) end-of-year supplements to their original values and cease indexation, limit FTB Part B to families with children under six, and introduce a new allowance for certain single parents,
  • extend and simplify the ordinary waiting period for all working age payments,
  • cease Pensioner Education Supplement and the Education Entry Payment,
  • extend Youth Allowance (other) to 22 to 24 year olds in lieu of Newstart Allowance and Sickness Allowance,
  • require young people with full capacity to learn, earn or Work for the Dole, and
  • remove the three-months’ backdating of Disability Pension under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986.

Current status:

  • Introduced into the Parliament on 2 October 2014.
  • Passed by the House of Representatives on 22 October 2014.
  • Awaiting debate in the Senate.
  • Some measures were modified or reversed in the 2015 Budget and some have been reintroduced in new Bills. This Bill will reflect those changes in due course.

Date of Royal Assent:

Act No.:

Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 5) Bill 2014

Content:

This Bill currently contains the following 2014 Budget measures:

  • maintain at current levels for three years the current income test free areas for all pensions other than Parenting Payment Single, and the deeming thresholds for all payments,
  • index all pensions other than Parenting Payment Single to the CPI only,
  • reset deeming thresholds, and
  • increase the qualifying age for Age Pension, and the non-veteran pension age, to 70.

Current status:

  • Introduced into the Parliament on 2 October 2014.
  • Awaiting debate in the House of Representatives.
  • The first three measures above were reversed in the 2015 Budget. Government amendments to this Bill have been circulated to remove those measures from this Bill. The amendments cannot be formally moved until the Bill is debated in the House of Representatives.

Date of Royal Assent:

Act No.:

Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Child Care Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2014

Content:

This Bill currently proposes to maintain the Child Care Benefit (CCB) income thresholds at the amounts applicable as at 30 June 2014. Identical amendments relating to CCB were removed from the Family Assistance Legislation (Child Care Measures) Act 2014 during its passage through the Senate in June 2014. (That Act retained similar amendments relating only to the Child Care Rebate.)

Current status:

  • Introduced into the Parliament on 25 June 2014.
  • Awaiting debate in the House of Representatives.

Date of Royal Assent:

Act No.:

Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Student Measures) Bill 2014

Content:

This Bill reintroduces, with certain modifications, two measures that were removed from the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 during its passage through the Senate in March 2014, both currently drafted to commence on 1 January 2015:

  • imposing an interest charge on certain student income support debt – originally a 2012-13 Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook measure, and
  • replacing Student Start-up Scholarships with Student Start-up Loans – originally a 2013 Budget measure, and amended as part of the 2014 Budget to remove grandfathering.

Current status:

  • Introduced into the Parliament on 17 July 2014.
  • Passed by the House of Representatives on 22 October 2014.
  • Awaiting debate in the Senate.

Date of Royal Assent:

Act No.:

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (Repeal) (No. 1) Bill 2014

Content:

This Bill proposes to repeal the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Act 2012, thereby abolishing the Commission. However, this Bill would not take effect until the enactment of a later Bill, which would provide the details of the arrangements replacing the Commission.

Current status:

  • Introduced into the Parliament on 19 March 2014.
  • Debated in the House of Representatives on 3 December 2014. Still before the House.

Date of Royal Assent:

Act No.:

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