Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Baby Bonus changes pass the House

The Government’s responsible changes to the family payments system have passed the House of Representatives with the support of the Opposition.

These amendments to the Family Assistance and Other Legislation Bill deliver the following reforms:

  • Changes to the Baby Bonus from 1 July 2013, providing $5,000 for first children and multiple births, and $3,000 for subsequent children (these changes were announced in October 2012);
  • Abolishing the Baby Bonus from 1 March 2014; and
  • Introducing a new payment for eligible families with newborn children.

From 1 March 2014, families eligible for FTB Part A will receive an additional loading on their family payments when they have a new baby to help with upfront costs (if they are not accessing the Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme).

The extra FTB Part A payments for families will total $2,000 for their first child (and all multiple births) and $1,000 for subsequent children. It will be paid as an initial instalment of $500, with the rest rolled into normal fortnightly payments over a three month period.

These new arrangements more closely reflect the essential upfront costs of having a baby and better target assistance now that Australia has a national paid parental leave scheme.

The support of the Opposition for these responsible changes has come after weeks of confusion, division and backflips.

The Shadow Treasurer has repeatedly been rolled by his leader and his colleagues over these issues.

The Shadow Minister for Families has been forced to support a policy he opposed in the Parliament just a few months ago.

And the Leader of the Opposition has been spending most of his time trying to hold off the growing revolt against his unfair and costly paid parental leave policy.

Meanwhile, this Labor Government has delivered:

  • Australia’s first national Paid Parental Leave scheme;
  • an increase to the Child Care Rebate from 30 to 50 per cent of out of pocket costs up to $7,500 per child per year;
  • the Schoolkids Bonus to help families with the cost of their children’s education;
  • higher payments for families with teenagers to encourage them to stay in school;
  • family payment increases as part of our Household Assistance Package; and
  • tax cuts for millions of working families.

Labor has worked hard to modernise the family payments system. We are delivering record levels of assistance to low and middle income families, while making sure our family payments system is strong and sustainable for the future.

And we are making the responsible decisions to ensure the Labor priorities that benefit all Australians – like better schools and DisabilityCare – have long-term funding security.

The Opposition’s only plan is to cut to the bone and leave Australian families behind.