Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Changes to age of eligibility for Family Tax Benefit Part A

The Australian Government is making changes to family assistance to ensure that family payments are targeted to when families need it most – while their children are in school.

All Australians deserve the best chance to get a job and that chance often begins with a good education.

That is why, from 1 January 2013, Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A will be focused on supporting families with young children and while at school.

Protecting the living standards of Australian families has been a key priority of the Gillard Government from day one, and this important measure reflects that commitment.

Under this change, young people aged 18 or over will no longer have access to FTB Part A unless they are in full time secondary study. Currently the maximum age of eligibility for FTB Part A is 21 years.

Eligible families will continue to receive FTB Part A for children aged under 18 years if their teenage child is in, or has completed, their secondary education or vocational equivalent.

Special arrangements for 18 and 19 year olds who are completing secondary school will ensure that their families can continue to access FTB Part A until the end of the calendar year.

Youth Allowance will continue to be available for eligible young people who need financial support while they are studying or looking for work.

Youth Allowance ‘learn or earn’ requirements mean that young people need to be actively participating in work, job search, study or training to receive payment.

This helps young people transition from school and puts them on a pathway to work.

The Government has a strong record of achievement to get young Australians either learning or earning.

These changes build on reforms to family assistance for older children as part of our Supporting Families with Teenagers election commitment, which began on 1 January this year, to help families with the cost of raising older teenagers and encourage young people to stay in school.

The maximum rate of FTB Part A was increased by up to $4,200 for families with teenagers aged 16 to 19 years who are in full-time secondary school or equivalent vocational training, so that they get the same assistance as for teenagers aged 13 to 15 years.

Together, these reforms deliver on the recommendations of the Australia’s Future Tax System Review, which proposed that family payments should be the main form of assistance for families for children in secondary school, with Youth Allowance the main form of assistance after young people finish school.

This change delivers a saving to taxpayers of $360.9 million over four years.