Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

A win for families in Parliament

Legislation passed in Parliament today will help families meet the costs of raising children.

The Government is delivering on its election commitment to increase the maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A for 16-19 year olds in secondary school or equivalent vocational training by up to $4,200 per teenager.

The increase will be delivered to Australian families from 1 January next year.

The families of around 650,000 teenagers turning 16 over the next five years could benefit from these substantial increases, if the young person stays in school.

The Government recognises that children do not get cheaper to care for as they get older. The cost of groceries, clothes and family activities can all increase as children grow.

By supporting families through this initiative we expect more students, particularly those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, can finish school and better prepare themselves for further education or training.

The change will align the maximum FTB rate with the 13-15 year old rate and ensure assistance for families does not decrease when children turn 16.

Under current rules, the maximum rate of FTB Part A drops considerably when a child turns 16. Rent Assistance also stops when the youngest child turns 16 and families may lose eligibility for FTB Part B, the Large Family Supplement and Multiple Birth Allowance.

These important reforms will cost $771.9 million over five years.

Today’s legislation also delivers on our commitment to help new parents with the upfront costs of having a baby such as buying a pram, baby clothes and setting up a bedroom.

From 1 July this year, families will receive $500 more of their Baby Bonus payment in their first fortnightly instalment, bringing it to almost $880.

The total amount of the Baby Bonus will remain the same, and the 12 subsequent payments will help parents meet ongoing costs during the baby’s first six months.

These improvements to family support payments are the first in a series of reforms to the family payment system the Government announced in this year’s Budget.

Further reforms to ensure the family payment system is sustainable into the future will be debated in the House of Representatives next week. I urge all Members of Parliament to support these economically responsible reforms and ensure the family payment system is able to support Australian families into the future.