The Social Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 has been introduced by the government into the Senate and passed without amendment. The Bill has subsequently been introduced into the House of Representatives.
The Bill contains the following three measures from the original Social Services Legislation Amendment (Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform) Bill 2017:
- • Indexation — maintain at level for three years from 1 July of the first financial year beginning on or after the day the Bill receives Royal Assent the income free areas for all working age allowances (other than student payments) and for parenting payment single and maintain at level for three years from 1 January of the first calendar year beginning on or after the day the Bill receives Royal Assent the income free areas and other means test thresholds for student payments, including the student income bank limits
- • Automation of income stream review processes — automation of the regular income stream review process by enabling the Secretary to require income stream providers to transfer a dataset to the Department of Human Services (DHS) on a regular basis, and
- • Ordinary waiting periods — extend and simplify ordinary waiting periods for the parenting payment and for youth allowance for a person who is not undertaking full-time study and is not a new apprentice.
Family Tax Benefit frozen for two years
This Bill also includes a new schedule to maintain the current Family Tax Benefit (FTB) payment rates for two years at their current levels from 1 July 2017. This change applies to the maximum standard, base rate and approved care organization rate of FTB Part A and the maximum rate of FTB Part B.
From 1 July 2017, indexation of these amounts will be paused for two years. Indexation will resume on 1 July 2019.