Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows has welcomed the passage of a Bill to hold partners complicit in welfare fraud to account, 102 votes to 17.
The Social Security (Fraud Measures and Debt Recovery) Amendment Bill changes the Social Security Act 1964, making spouses and partners of beneficiaries, as well as beneficiaries, accountable for welfare fraud or dishonest overpayments.
“We know the overwhelming majority of beneficiaries are honest, and successfully navigate the rules, but those who don’t cost the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars each year,” says Mr Borrows.
Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows has today congratulated StudyLink staff on a highly successful Student Allowance and Loan peak season.
“StudyLink faces an incredibly challenging workload, with more than 300,000 applications for financial support to process in only a few months,” says Mr Borrows.
“This year StudyLink put in place a collection of changes designed to smooth out the pressure of the peak season. This included increasing the number of permanent staff, improving training for temporary staff and being more proactive in their communication with students.
“The result of this was thousands of applications sorted earlier in the summer and a 55 per cent reduction in complaints – these are indicators which tell me this has been a real success.”
Courts Minister Chester Borrows says changes which come into effect today will improve the process for people recovering debt owed following a civil court case.
The changes, made under the District Courts Amendment Act 2011, streamline the debt recovery process to make it faster, easier and cheaper for creditors, debtors, their representatives and the courts and tribunals.
“One of this Government’s most important priorities has been to support business so they have the confidence to hire another person, or invest another dollar,” says Mr Borrows.
“A modern, efficient and easy to use civil court system, with good tools to enforce those court judgments, is an important part of that.
Associate Social Development Minister Chester Borrows has congratulated today’s graduates from the latest Military Style Activity Camp (MAC Camp) for young offenders.
“MAC Camps take young people with some of the worst criminal histories, who are on their last chance,” says Mr Borrows.
“Despite their offending, they’re still our kids, and we’re not giving up on them. They must take responsibility for their actions, but equally we – the community that raised them – must take responsibility for providing them with a future that takes them down a better path.
Associate Justice Minister Chester Borrows today announced the appointment of David Plunkett as a member of the Accident Compensation Appeal Authority. The appointment is for a three year term.
The Authority hears appeals against Accident Compensation Corporation decisions and reviews decisions that were made under the 1972 or 1982 Accident Compensation Acts. Generally, the appeals and reviews considered by the Authority relate to injuries that occurred before 1 July 1992.
“David Plunkett brings considerable experience with tribunals, and a proven record of delivering sound, defensible and timely judgements,” said Mr Borrows.
“I’m very pleased that he has agreed to take on this role, in addition to his work as Chair of the Legal Aid Tribunal.”
Saturday was a day of protest regarding legal highs. The target of the protests was the Government, and the catch cry was banning legal highs. In the time weary mantra, "When do we want it? Now!" Everyone wants the same thing and almost every party in Parliament agrees. The last vote on the current legislation passed 119 to 1 meaning only the ACT Party sees this as nothing to do with the Government.
The problem is that we’ve already tried that, but the innovators can move faster than the legislators. Parliament previously moved to ban about 40 legal highs but in the time it took to pass the legislation, hundreds more were on the market. Slightly tweaked chemical make-ups made products that we had just made illegal fall just outside the definitions, and so once again technically legal.