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Senate Inquiry: Social Services Legislation Amendment (Encouraging Self-sufficiency for Newly Arrived Migrants)

The Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee has commenced an inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Encouraging Self-sufficiency for Newly Arrived Migrants) Bill 2018.

The Bill, if enacted, will:

  • increase the newly arrived resident’s waiting period (NARWP) from 104 weeks to 156 weeks for certain social security payments and concession cards; and
  • introduce a NARWP of 156 weeks for bereavement allowance, widow allowance, parenting payment and carer allowance.

It should be noted that the bill does not impose a waiting period on humanitarian arrivals.

For further information about the bill, click here.

SCoA made a submission to the Committee on 11 April 2018 which, among others, suggested that the Committee consider the unintended consequences of extending the waiting period, which could effectively deny crucial, short-term support to migrants, potentially entrenching them in situations of ongoing hardship. A full copy of SCoA’s submission can be accessed below.

On 17 April, SCoA CEO Nick Tebbey appeared on behalf of SCoA and its members at a hearing of the Committee, further elaborating on the sector’s concerns regarding the waiting period, and suggesting that the government should place a greater emphasis on ensuring settlement services are available to all migrants who need them, thereby enhancing settlement outcomes and maximising the benefit to Australia’s community and the economy.

The Committee is due to report back to parliament in early May and SCoA will keep members informed as matters progress.