Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Extra help for families with teenagers who stay in school

From today, eligible families with teenagers aged 16 to 19 will get a boost to their family payments of to up to $4,208 per teenager, if their child stays in school or a vocational training equivalent.

This increase will bring the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A for eligible teenagers to $6,307 a year.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Families Jenny Macklin today met with the Huynh and Tran families in Smithfield, Sydney, to discuss what the increased Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A payments will mean for them.

We all know teenagers don’t cost less once they turn 16. If anything they cost more, which is why we’re making this important change today.

There are about 630,000 families across Australia with a teenager turning 16 within the next five years who stand to benefit from this increase if their child stays in school or a vocational training equivalent.

Today’s increase means these families could benefit from the increase in the maximum rate of FTB Part A of up to $160 extra per fortnight to help pay the bills, which translates to an increase of $4,208 annually.

In addition to this, more than 82,000 teenagers currently aged between 16 and 19 could also benefit from the changes. Families already receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A will have their entitlements automatically adjusted from today if they are entitled to the higher rate.

The Minister for Families Jenny Macklin said that evidence showed that those teenagers who finish their education or get a trade are better off in the long term.

We want all children to stay in school or get school-based apprenticeships to give them the best chance at getting a good job.

This change will provide parents with that extra financial support to ensure their older teenagers achieve a Year 12 Certificate or equivalent qualification.

The Government’s $770 million investment over five years will be particularly valuable for families with lower incomes.

In 2006, Year 12 completion rates were at 59 per cent for students from low income homes, compared with 78 per cent for higher income students.

These findings indicate that the costs of educating teenage children are an important barrier for families on low incomes to support their child’s education.

Most families with a teenager in full-time secondary study who is currently receiving Youth Allowance are likely to be better off on Family Tax Benefit and should check their eligibility.

For more information, go to:

Teenagers who will be eligible to receive additional support if they stay in school
State FTB A children aged 11-15 years receiving more than the base rate (as at 28 October 2011)
Australian Capital Territory 5,200
New South Wales 204,900
Northern Territory 8,000
Queensland 137,700
South Australia 48,300
Tasmania 18,400
Victoria 151,100
Western Australia 54,500
Total 627,900

Note: The difference between the total and the sum of its components is due to rounding. Children whose residential state is unknown due to anomalies in their recorded address are not included above.

Family Tax Benefit Part A maximum payment rates
Fortnightly $ 52.64 $ 214.06 $161.42
Annual $ 2,098.75 $ 6,307.20 $4,208.45

Note: Annual figures include the FTB end of year supplement worth $726