Act of Grace payments

7.81 Where social security legislation produces an ‘anomalous or inequitable result’, an Act of Grace payment may be made where:

  • the application of the legislation produces an unintended or unacceptable result; or
  • there are circumstances which lead to the conclusion that there is a moral obligation on the Commonwealth to make payment.[65]

7.82 The Welfare Rights Centre NSW noted that where social security is not available, because a person is not residentially qualified (such as Special Category visa holders), the only remaining option is an Act of Grace request to argue that the legislation has produced an ‘anomalous or inequitable result’.[66]

7.83 The ALRC does not propose to expand the Act of Grace payment arrangements. It is outside the scope of the ALRC’s Terms of Reference to consider in detail the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth). However, it may be useful to provide a case study such as the one provided by the Welfare Rights Centre NSW to inform decisions relating to Act of Grace payments.

[65]Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth) s 33.

[66] Welfare Rights Centre NSW, Submission CFV 70, 9 May 2011.