Australian Government, 2010‑11 Budget
Budget

Part 2: Expense Measures (Continued)

Human Services

An Innovation and Higher Education System for the 21st Century — Student income support — additional funding for service delivery

Expense ($m)
2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14
Centrelink 2.2 7.3 7.1 7.1 6.3
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - 0.4 0.1 0.1 0.1
Total 2.2 7.7 7.2 7.2 6.4
Centrelink 4.6 0.4 0.3 - -

The Government will provide $36.1 million over five years (including $5.4 million in capital over three years) for service delivery costs associated with implementing reforms to student income support announced in the 2009‑10 Budget. The reforms aim to create a fairer and more equitable allocation of Government support to students.

The additional funds will enable Centrelink to implement changes to the eligibility requirements for Youth Allowance, including the criteria for independence and the personal income tests. These changes will provide greater access to Youth Allowance for people from lower income backgrounds. The funding also supports implementation of the Relocation Scholarship and the extension of Youth Allowance to eligible students studying a masters by coursework, and provides additional resources for the Social Security Appeals Tribunal to ensure people affected by this measure have access to their appeal rights.

See also related expense measure titled Student income support — extending eligibility.

Child Support Income Estimates — transitional arrangements and long‑term solution

Expense ($m)
2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14
Department of Human Services - - - - -

The Government will improve the process for reconciling estimated parental income against actual income levels by reducing the income estimate period to a maximum of 12 months. This change will align a customer's income estimates to a financial year, which will simplify and reduce the cost of the reconciliation process. The change will commence from 1 July 2010. The Government will introduce transitional arrangements to manage the reconciliation process for income estimates that arise before 1 July 2010 by auditing only those estimates most at risk of an underestimate or where the customer has requested an audit.

The cost of this measure will be met from existing resources within the Department of Human Services.

Drought assistance — mobile service and rural servicing support — extension

Expense ($m)
2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14
Centrelink - - - - -

The Government will provide $4.7 million in 2010‑11 for two mobile offices (drought buses) and associated support staff to maintain the Australian Government Drought Assistance Mobile Service. The funding provides for Centrelink staff, including specialist Rural Services Officers and a social worker, to provide a range of services for families living in drought‑affected areas without a Centrelink Customer Service Centre. The service will also facilitate customer access to other Australian, state and local government initiatives from one place.

The cost of this measure will be met from within the existing resourcing of Centrelink.

Fraud prevention and compliance — Centrelink debts — improvements to the tax garnishee process

Expense ($m)
2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14
Centrelink - 2.1 0.2 0.1 ..
Australian Taxation Office - 1.3 0.2 0.2 0.2
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - - - - -
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - - -
Total - 3.4 0.4 0.3 0.3
Australian Taxation Office - 1.4 - - -

The Government will provide $5.8 million over four years (including $1.4 million in capital in 2010‑11) to improve the current process for garnishing tax returns of ex‑Centrelink customers who have an outstanding debt with Centrelink and no arrangement in place to repay that debt. The funding will enable the Australian Taxation Office to automatically intercept tax refunds on behalf of Centrelink.

The measure will affect around 64,000 people who have a capacity to repay their debt to Centrelink. It will also continue to ensure people suffering financial hardship have the option to enter into an alternative repayment arrangement with Centrelink.

This measure will reduce welfare debts by an estimated $71.6 million over four years. These debt recoveries improve the underlying cash balance of the Australian Government but do not change the fiscal balance.

Fraud prevention and compliance — Centrelink debts — review of non‑standard debt repayment rates

Expense ($m)
2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14
Centrelink - 8.0 10.0 5.2 5.3
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - - - - -
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - - -
Total - 8.0 10.0 5.2 5.3

The Government will provide $28.5 million over four years to review the repayment rates of people repaying debts to Centrelink at a rate below the standard repayment of 15 per cent of their welfare benefit. From 1 January 2011, people repaying their debt at a rate below the standard rate will have their circumstances reviewed after three months. People who are suffering financial hardship will continue to have the option to make repayments at a lower rate.

This measure will increase repayment of debts by $42.4 million over four years. These debt recoveries improve the underlying cash balance of the Australian Government but do not change the fiscal balance.

Fraud prevention and compliance — enhanced capability for Centrelink to detect and respond to emerging fraud risks

Expense ($m)
2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14
Centrelink - 17.6 18.3 12.2 12.4
Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations - -7.6 -21.4 -21.6 -21.8
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - -7.9 -14.3 -16.6 -16.4
Total - 2.1 -17.4 -25.9 -25.8
Centrelink - 5.3 4.7 0.4 -

The Government will provide $71.0 million over four years (including $10.4 million in capital over four years) to Centrelink to act on information from government intelligence and law enforcement agencies to identify and prevent abuse of the social welfare system by organised crime groups. This measure will enable Centrelink to employ specialist analysts and investigators to increase referrals to law enforcement agencies and refer serious cases to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

This measure is estimated to provide savings of $127.6 million over four years, resulting in net savings of $56.6 million over four years.

Fraud prevention and compliance — improving compliance with child support obligations

Expense ($m)
2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14
Department of Human Services - 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9

The Government will provide $3.7 million over four years to develop and implement an enhanced compliance capability to help ensure that parents meet their child support obligations.

The funding will enable the Child Support Agency to use sophisticated statistical analysis tools and data to identify, analyse, and mitigate new and emerging compliance risks. The new capability will enable the Child Support Agency to identify those parents at greatest risk of not meeting their financial obligations to their children and respond to those risks earlier.

Fraud prevention and compliance — new approaches to reduce fraud and support compliance

Expense ($m)
2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14
Department of Human Services - 2.0 2.0 - -

The Government will provide $4.0 million over two years to pilot new ways of preventing fraud and supporting compliance in the social, health and welfare payments system. A number of short‑term programs will be assessed for their potential to become part of the ongoing strategy to redirect resources to where they best reduce fraud and support compliance.

Jobs and Training Compact — improved participation requirements for 15‑20 year olds — additional funding for service delivery

Expense ($m)
2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14
Centrelink 9.6 5.5 4.4 4.1 3.6
Centrelink 3.0 - - - -

The Government will provide $30.2 million over five years (including $3.0 million in capital in 2009‑10) to continue the implementation of the 2009‑10 Budget measure Jobs and Training Compact — Improved participation requirements for 15‑ 20 year olds.

This measure will fund Centrelink to provide young people with information about eligibility requirements for Youth Allowance (Other) and provide referrals to Job Services Australia for vocational and non‑vocational training. In this way, Centrelink will support young people without a Year 12 or equivalent qualification to meet their participation requirements in order to receive Youth Allowance (Other).

Jobs and Training Compact — Youth Attainment and Transitions National Partnership — additional funding

Expense ($m)
2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14
Centrelink 2.2 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
Centrelink 1.6 - - - -

The Government will provide $5.5 million over five years (including $1.6 million in capital in 2009‑10) to continue delivery of the 2009‑10 Budget measure Jobs and Training Compact — Youth Attainment and Transitions National Partnership which includes combining the Youth Pathways and Connections programs into one program. This measure aims to assist young people to engage with education and further training, and to improve their ability to make positive life choices.

The measure will fund Centrelink to register and refer up to 6,000 additional young people to the Youth Connection program and make necessary systems changes. Centrelink will be able to assist young people who are most at risk of disengaging from education, family and community by delivering a more comprehensive and holistic service to 13‑19 year olds and expand this service nationally.

Medicare Australia — continuation of funding for Medicare Australia Access Points

Expense ($m)
2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14
Medicare Australia - - - - -

The Government will provide $7.7 million in 2010‑11 to continue funding for 800 Medicare Australia Access Points. Funding beyond 2010‑11 will be considered in the 2011‑12 Budget.

The Access Points provide a network of self‑service outlets for accessing certain government services including Medicare rebate claims, registration for the Australian Organ Donor Register, assistance with family payments, and information on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. The network provides online services in rural, remote and metropolitan areas where there is no access to a Medicare Branch Office. The Access Points are located in a range of outlets including pharmacies, post offices, general stores and health centres.

Provision of this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

Secure and sustainable pension reform — additional funding for service delivery

Expense ($m)
2009‑10 2010‑11 2011‑12 2012‑13 2013‑14
Centrelink -0.9 2.5 3.0 2.8 2.8
Centrelink 1.6 2.4 - - -

The Government will provide an additional $14.2 million over five years (including $4.0 million in capital in 2009‑10 and 2010‑11) for Centrelink to implement the reforms under the Secure and Sustainable Pensions package which was announced in the 2009‑10 Budget.

The pension package included an increase in the pension of $32.49 per week for single pensioners and $10.14 per week for pensioner couples (combined), a tightening of the income test, a consolidated pension supplement and the introduction of a new Carer Supplement. The package also included replacing the Pension Bonus Scheme with Work Bonus to better encourage workforce participation.

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