Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

New education requirements for Family Tax Benefit Part A

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Julia Gillard MP, Minister for Education
    The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Human Services

From today, around 273,000 families will receive a letter from Centrelink to explain new requirements for Family Tax Benefit Part A for children aged 16 to 20.

Legislation passed by the Parliament last week will make participation in education or training a requirement for payment of Family Tax Benefits for young people aged 16 and over.

The Australian Government recognises the value of completing secondary school and the negative impact that leaving school early school can have on a young person’s lifelong employment.

Education is significant in shaping people’s life chances, especially their ability to get a good job.

The Rudd Government is determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past and allow the young people of today become the long term unemployed of tomorrow.

We will not allow the skills and training needed by a modern economy to skip a generation because of the global recession.

These new requirements support the Compact with Young Australians agreed by the Council of Australian Governments in April which ensures, that as we recover from the global recession, young Australians have the skills they need to participate in the world of work.

From January 2010, a child aged 16 to 20 will have to be studying towards Year 12 or equivalent qualification, or have completed such a course, to be eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A.

These letters aim to give young people not in full-time study, time to enrol in an approved course of education.

The course must assist or allow the young person to complete a Year 12 or equivalent qualification, considered to be a Certificate Level II course under the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Exemptions will apply when the young person lacks the capacity to study due to illness or impairment, where there is no locally accessible course, or if other special circumstances exist.

Families will receive another letter in March 2010 requesting they provide Centrelink with details of their child’s educational status to establish whether the child is meeting the new eligibility requirement.

If their 16-20 year old child already has a Year 12 or equivalent qualification, or is enrolled in an approved course then they will be considered to have met the requirement.

Family tax benefit Part A for young people aged over 21, and family tax benefit part B for young people aged 16 to 18, already have a full-time study requirement.