7.1.1 General Power to Obtain Information
For PLP purposes, Centrelink may require a person to provide information or produce a document that is in the person's custody or under the person' control, if Centrelink considers that the information or document may be relevant to one or more of the following:
- determining whether a claimant who has made an effective claim for PLP is or was eligible or is or was initially eligible for PLP,
- determining whether PLP is or was payable to a person,
- determining who should pay instalments of PLP to a person,
- ensuring instalment payments are able to be paid into the bank account of the person to whom they are payable,
- determining whether to make an employer determination (1.1.E.60) or whether one should have been made,
- determining whether PPL funding amounts are or were payable to an employer,
- ensuring that an employer complies or has complied with its obligations under the PPLAct.
For DAPP purposes, Centrelink may require a person to give information, or produce a document that is in the person's custody or under the person's control, if Centrelink considers that the information or document may be relevant to one or more of the following:
- determining whether a person who has made an effective claim for DAPP is or was eligible for DAPP, or is or was initially eligible for DAPP,
- determining whether DAPP is or was payable to a person,
- ensuring Centrelink can pay DAPP into the bank account of a person to whom DAPP is payable.
Example: Information required may include:
- evidence relating to a person's period of employment,
- evidence relating to Australian residence,
- the claimant's ATI for the relevant year.
Act reference: PPLAct section 117 General power to obtain information
Written notice to request information
A requirement to provide information or produce a document under PPLAct Part 4-1 Division 2 Subdivision A must be made by a written notice, which may be given:
- personally, or
- by post, or
- in any other manner approved by Centrelink.
The written notice must specify the following:
- how the person is to provide the information or produce the document, and
- the period within which the person is to give the information or produce the document, and
- the agency and the contact officer (if any) to whom the information is to be given, or the document is to be provided, and
- that the notice is given under PPLAct section 120, and
- if the notice requires the person to appear before an officer to answer questions, the time and place at which the person must appear (which must be at least 14 days after the day the notice is given).
Explanation: Providing a written notice to the claimant/recipient enables Centrelink and the claimant/recipient to retain and keep records. Allowing a minimum of 14 days for providing information enables Centrelink to make allowances for claimants who reside in remote areas.
Effect of state or territory laws
No state or territory law can operate to prevent a person from giving information, producing a document or giving evidence that the person is required to give or produce for the purposes of the PPL law.
Refusing or failing to comply with a request
Refusing or failing to comply with a requirement to provide information or produce a document is a criminal offence. The penalty for such a failure or refusal is 6 months' imprisonment.
This does not apply if the person has a reasonable excuse for failing or refusing to provide information or produce a document.
Exception: It is not a criminal offence under this section if the person to whom PLP or DAPP is payable refuses or fails to provide their bank account details.
Act reference: PPLAct section 117 General power to obtain information, section 120 Written notice of requirement, section 121 Obligations not affected by State or Territory laws, section 122 Offence-failure to comply with requirement