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Vaccination requirements for government payments: a brief history

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to public debate around vaccine incentives and mandates, including a proposal from Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese for a $300 payment for those vaccinated against the disease. Linking vaccinations to government payments is not a new policy idea in Australia—immunisation requirements for family assistance payments have been in place for decades. Rather than offering an incentive payment for families to immunise children, these requirements apply a financial penalty for those whose children are not immunised. This FlagPost sets out the current immunisation requirements for family payments and provides a brief history of these requirements. Read more...

Farm Household Support Amendment (Debt Waiver) Bill 2021

The Farm Household Support Amendment (Debt Waiver) Bill 2021 (the Bill) amends the Farm Household Support Act 2014 (the FHS Act) to permanently waive the repayment of certain classes of debt owed by Farm Household Allowance (FHA) recipients. These debts have arisen as a result of overpayments of the FHA due to inaccurate estimates of business income provided by claimants. According to the Explanatory Memorandum, the amendments in the Bill will have a total financial cost of $65.6 million, including $51.0 million in foregone revenue from debts that would otherwise have been repaid (p. 2). In his second reading speech, Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar stated that the Bill will provide debt r... Read more...

Why most pension and benefit rates will not be increased in September 2020

On 20 March and 20 September of each year, the rates of most social security payments are usually increased in order to maintain their real value over time—this process is known as indexation. Pensions, unlike other payments, can also be adjusted to maintain their rate relative to average earnings. On 20 September 2020, for the first time in more than 20 years, the rates of pensions and payments such as JobSeeker Payment will not increase. This is because some of the indices used to adjust these payments have declined. Read more...

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