The federal government is to begin the mass-harvesting of financial information on hundreds of thousands of Australian pensioners as it steps up the "automation" of the nation's welfare system.
Centrelink is to be given the power to force superannuation funds and other sources of income for retirees to hand over the details of payments made to their members.
The move is expected to save up to $38 million each year in reduced administration for Centrelink and fewer overpayments of the age pension.
The welfare reform bill that passed late on Wednesday night contained the clause empowering Centrelink to demand the information, which is expected to be in the form of data-sets, from super funds and other "income stream" providers.
From early 2018 pensioners will no longer have to report their income streams to the welfare agency.
The changes will apply to part-pensioners who also receive income from private or public sector superannuation funds or annuities.
According to the government's explanatory memoranda, the amendments passed on Wednesday "empower DHS to give a notice requiring the provision of income stream information by providers."
"The amendments...are expected to create cost savings by reducing regulatory and compliance costs, and improving the efficiency of DHS' service delivery.
"It is also expected that the amendments will improve the accuracy of income support payments and reduce customer debts that arise when a customer fails to inform DHS of changes to their income streams, or when they do not inform DHS that they have commenced receiving an income stream payment."