Student Assistance Amendment Bill 2002


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Bills Digest No. 97 2001-02
Student Assistance Amendment Bill 2002

WARNING:
This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

CONTENTS

Passage History
Purpose
Background
Main Provisions
Endnotes
Contact Officer & Copyright Details


Passage History

Date Introduced: 14 February 2002

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Education, Science and Training

Commencement: On Royal Assent

Purpose

The Bill is intended to ensure greater consistency in arrangements between the Student Assistance Act and the Social Security Act in the area of the recovery of overpayments and notification periods for Abstudy and Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC).

Background

From 1 January 2000, changes to Abstudy were introduced which were intended to:

  • Increase the targeting of Abstudy to those students most in need of assistance
  • Make available benefits under Youth Allowance (YA) not then available under Abstudy, and
  • Retain Abstudy as a separate scheme.

The main changes to Abstudy were:

  • Living Allowance payments were aligned with those payable under YA for 16-20 year old students
  • Abstudy students aged 21 years and over became eligible for the higher Newstart rate
  • Abstudy students aged over 21 years became subject to a more generous partner income test than is applied for Newstart recipients
  • The Pensioner Education Supplement was aligned with that payable under the Social Security Act 1991, and
  • eligible Abstudy students were given access to Rent Assistance, Remote Area Allowance and Pharmaceutical Allowance.

ABSTUDY recipients remained eligible for a range of supplementary benefits targeted to address particular disadvantages faced by Indigenous students that were not available to recipients of YA or Austudy payment.

The present Bill provides for some further minor adjustments to the Student Assistance Act 1973 to facilitate greater consistency between that Act and the Social Security Act in the area of overpayment recovery and notification periods. These changes mainly affect Abstudy but also apply to the Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme.

Main Provisions

Items 4 to 8 and 10 of Schedule 1 change the length of notification periods for students to advise that certain prescribed events have occurred from 7 days to 14 days. This brings them into line with other notification periods in the Act and in other programs administered by Centrelink.

Item 9 of Schedule 1 deals with debt recovery. Proposed Section 39AA allows the recovery of overpayments of Social Security payments from entitlements to special educational assistance schemes, such as Abstudy or the Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme.

 

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Dale Daniels
11 March 2002
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

This paper has been prepared for general distribution to Senators and Members of the Australian Parliament. While great care is taken to ensure that the paper is accurate and balanced, the paper is written using information publicly available at the time of production. The views expressed are those of the author and should not be attributed to the Information and Research Services (IRS). Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion. Readers are reminded that the paper is not an official parliamentary or Australian government document.

IRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents with Senators and Members and their staff but not with members of the public.

ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 2002

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 2002.

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