Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

Specifications as made
This instrument specifies 'medicare programs' for the purposes of paragraph 41G(b) of the Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973 and repeals the Human Services (Medicare) (Medicare Programs) Specification 2015.
Administered by: Social Services
Registered 05 Dec 2019
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR04-Feb-2020
Tabled Senate04-Feb-2020

 

 

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

 

Human Services (Medicare) (Medicare Programs) Specification 2019

 

A number of Commonwealth laws use the term ‘Medicare program’ and rely on section 41G of the Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973 to define that term.

 

For example, the National Health Act 1953 and the Health Insurance Act 1973 both authorise persons to make a record of, or disclose, certain protected information for the purposes of enabling persons to perform functions in relation to a ‘medicare program’.

 

Section 41G defines a Medicare program as a service, benefit, program or facility that is provided under certain health-related legislation referred to in paragraph 41G(a) or that is specified in a legislative instrument made under paragraph 41G(b). By enabling the definition of Medicare program to include programs specified in a legislative instrument, section 41G provides a mechanism for updating, from time to time, the list of programs that are appropriately classified as Medicare programs.

 

The specification repeals and replaces the Human Services (Medicare) (Medicare Programs) Specification 2015 (the Specification) in accordance with subsection 33(3) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 which provides that where an Act confers a power to make, grant or issue any instrument of a legislative or administrative character, the power shall be construed as including a power exercisable in the like manner and subject to the like conditions (if any) to repeal, rescind, revoke, amend or vary any such instrument.

 

The changes to the specification are directed towards updating the names of programs that have been renamed, removing programs that have ceased and specifying existing programs as medicare programs as appropriate. The new specification is not intended to substantially change the manner in which any of the programs are carried out.

 

The only new programs being added are the Workforce Incentive Program – Doctor Stream, the Workforce Incentive Program – Practice Stream and the Australian Immunisation Register. The Workforce Incentive Programs reflect the transitioning of the General Practice Rural Incentives Program to the Workforce Incentive Program – Doctor Stream and the Practice Nurse Incentive Program to the Workforce Incentive Program – Practice Stream.

 

The Australian Immunisation Register is provided for by the Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015 and the secrecy provision in the Health Insurance Act 1973 has an existing exception dealing with the inclusion of information in the register, but it is specified here for the avoidance of any doubt.

 

The specification is of a machinery nature and ensures that the list of programs that are Medicare programs is updated. As the instrument does not alter existing arrangements,  no public consultation on the specification was considered necessary.

 

The department consulted with the Department of Health and the Australian Taxation Office on the changes to the specification as appropriate to those agencies.

 

Following a preliminary assessment (OBPR reference ID 25107) the Office of Best Practice Regulation determined that no Regulation Impact Statement is required for the instrument as it is not likely to have more than a minor regulatory impact.

 

The specification commences on 1 January 2020, with the exception of the item dealing with the Workforce Incentive Program – Practice stream which will commence on 1 February 2020.


 

 

 

ATTACHMENT A

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

Human Services (Medicare) (Medicare Programs) Specification 2019

 

This Legislative Instrument is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

 

Overview of the legislative instrument

The Human Services (Medicare) (Medicare Programs) Specification 2019 specifies, for the purposes of paragraph 41G(b) of the Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973, programs as ‘medicare programs’. A number of Commonwealth laws use the term ‘Medicare program’ and rely on section 41G of the Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973 to define that term. Section 41G defines a Medicare program as a service, benefit, program or facility that is provided under certain health-related legislation referred to in paragraph 41G(a) or that is specified in a legislative instrument made under section 41G(b).

 

The specification repeals and replaces the Human Services (Medicare) (Medicare Programs) Specification 2015  The changes to the specification are directed towards updating the names of programs that have been renamed, removing programs that have ceased and specifying existing programs as medicare programs as appropriate.

 

 

 

Human rights implications

This Legislative Instrument does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

 

Conclusion

This Legislative Instrument is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.