Senate Inquiry Report into CDC Ammendment released
So, at 4:58pm AEST, after two extension requests, the Community Affairs Legislation Committee released their report on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Housing Affordability) Bill 2017.
It was not the news that we were expecting to hear. After reading through all the submissions, and seeing the number of submissions both by individuals and by community organisations representing many hundreds of thousand citizens across Australia, it was not expected that the committee would list a sole recommendation of
2.113 The committee recommends that the bill be passed.
It was expected that the recommendation would that the bill NOT be passed, or at worst, that the amendment should only alter the provision being repealed to allow the trials to continue. It is suspected that due to the committee makeup, that there was a hung vote on the recommendation meaning that the LNP Chair had the casting vote, and hence the LNP were successful in pushing it through the Senate Inquiry also…
More analysis to come as we get a chance to analyse this report in its entiretly. In the meantime, you can view the report below, or view or download it from the Senate Committee page.
Also released at the same time was the review of the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Housing Affordability) Bill 2017 [Provisions], by the same Community Affairs Legislation Committee. This bill made it onto our radar when it was noticed that it also sought to amend the Cashless Debit Card provisions of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999. Whilst this bill had the same recommendation of being passed, it is good to note that it did, however, raise some issues that the government should address.
2.70 The committee recommends that the government consider whether there is merit in imposing a cap on the maximum percentage of a tenant’s divertible welfare payment which can be deducted under the Automatic Rent Deduction Scheme, to ensure that an amount is available to meet a tenant’s other basic and reasonable needs.
2.71 The committee recommends that the government clarify how the scheme will interact with other forms of income management, such as cashless welfare arrangements, or other deductions made from a tenant’s income support payment under Commonwealth law.
2.72 The committee recommends that the government consider the arguments for including a provision in the Automatic Rent Deduction Scheme guidelines for notification to be provided to a tenant when: a request for an automatic deduction is made by a lessor, the stated reason(s) for a request; the outcome of the Secretary’s consideration of a request; and, if the Secretary approves a request, the amount that will be deducted, the deduction schedule and information regarding government funded financial counselling and other relevant support services available to a tenant.
2.73 The committee recommends that the government consider whether there is merit in providing a review mechanism in the Automatic Rent Deduction Scheme to provide a tenant with an accessible process for requesting a review of a decision made by the Secretary.
3.35 The committee recommends that the bill be passed.
As with the previous report, you can either view the embedded report below or can view or download it from the Senate Comittee page.