Bills Digest No. 118  1998-99 Youth Allowance Consolidation Bill 1999

Numerical Index | Alphabetical Index

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.


Passage History
Main Provisions
Concluding Comments
Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Passage History

Youth Allowance Consolidation Bill 1999

Date Introduced: 11 February 1999

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Family and Community Services

Commencement: Schedule 1 concerning Fares Allowance, Schedule 2 concerning the Student Financial Supplement Scheme and Schedule 3 concerning the Family Actual Means Test will take effect from Royal Assent. The various parts of Schedules 4 and 5 concerning Youth Allowance, Austudy and the Student Financial Supplement Scheme take effect from Royal Assent, 1 July 1998, 20 September 1998, 1 January 1999, 1 July 1999 or 1 July 2000. The Explanatory Memorandum gives the details.


To incorporate two disallowable instruments and one set of regulations dealing with aspects of Austudy into the Social Security Act 1991.

To address technical issues arising out of the implementation of the youth allowance package and to make consequential amendments relating to the commencement of youth allowance.


The Youth Allowance was introduced from July 1998. It merged all income support for young unemployed people under the age of 21 years and full-time students between the ages of 16 and 24 years, into one payment administered by the Department of Social Security (DSS) now called the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS). The only exceptions were Abstudy and the Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme(1).

This process involved the transfer from the Department of Employment Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DEETYA) of responsibility for student income support. Two amending acts set up the new payment: the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Youth Allowance) Act 1998 and the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Youth Allowance Consequential and Related Measures) Act 1998. Two disallowable instruments and one set of regulations were created to preserve existing provisions while transferring them to the new legislative system.

The Second Reading Speech gives no reasons for the incorporation of the subordinate legislation into the main act, beyond saying that they were always intended to be incorporated and were only a temporary expedient due to the time constraints imposed by the implementation schedule for the Youth Allowance Package. However the legislative practises of the two departments involved in the administration of youth income support prior to their merger as the Youth Allowance had been somewhat different. DEETYA used subordinate legislation extensively to flesh out the bones of their main acts. DSS on the other hand tended concentrate the detail in the main Act. This tendency was reinforced when the Social Security Act was rewritten in 1991 as a plain English act. This rewrite produced one large and comprehensive document, which was more user friendly than its' predecessor. It was a single source for practically all legislation on social security payments. Extensive use of subordinate legislation would be out of place in this long standing legislative arrangement. This bill completes the transition, for student income support legislation, from the DEETYA legislative practise to the DSS legislative practise.

As part of the incorporation process, some changes are being made to drafting style and structure in keeping with the practise in the rest of the Social Security Act. Certain technical changes are also being made to more accurately reflect the original Austudy provisions which the subordinate legislation replaced. These changes do not appear to disadvantage anyone.

The Bill also deals with technical issues arising out of the implementation of the youth allowance package and makes consequential amendments relating to the commencement of youth allowance. These are a collection of disparate and minor changes of a housekeeping nature which do to appear to disadvantage anyone recipients. Such changes are not unusual after the implementation of such a major restructure of income support arrangements.

Main Provisions

Schedules 1 to 3 incorporate subordinate legislation into the main Act without altering the entitlements of recipients. The drafting style and structure of the Social Security Act has been adopted in the process and minor changes made. See pages 2,10 and 27 of the Explanatory memorandum for details.

Schedules 4 and 5 contain minor and technical amendments.

Concluding Comments

This bill is a legislative housekeeping exercise with no significant ramifications for the entitlements of Youth Allowance recipients.


  1. For further background on the Youth Allowance see Bills Digest No. 77 1997-98 which deals with the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Youth Allowance) Bill 1997.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Dale Daniels
23 February 1999
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

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ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 1999

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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1999.

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