Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

$600 Carer Supplement legislation passed

Around 500,000 carers across Australia will receive a new, permanent Carer Supplement of $600 a year following the passage in Parliament today of the Social Security and Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (2009 Budget Measures) Bill 2009.

Carers make enormous sacrifices caring for some of the most vulnerable in our community and face significant financial pressure.

This supplement will provide carers with better financial security by replacing ad-hoc bonuses with a legislated annual supplement.

The $600 supplement will be paid to people who receive:

  • Carer Payment
  • both Wife Pension and Carer Allowance
  • both Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Partner Service Pension and Carer Allowance
  • DVA Carer Service pension

The new Supplement will also be provided to around 450,000 recipients of Carer Allowance with $600 for each person they care for.

Recipients of both Carer Payment and Carer Allowance will receive two Carer Supplement payments worth $1200 in total.

The first Carer Supplement will be paid by the end of June, and then every year from 1 July 2010.

The total cost of the new Carer Supplement is $1.8 billion over the forward estimates.

The Parliament also passed amendments to indexation arrangements for the upper income thresholds of three family assistance payments.

The Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A higher income free areas, the FTB Part B primary earner income limit of $150,000 and the Baby Bonus family income limit will be paused at their current levels for three years until 2012.

These measures will limit the growth of family payments made to families at the higher end of the income scale, who will benefit from significant tax cuts in 2009 and 2010.

This reform to family payments will save $1.4 billion over the forward estimates.

The family payment threshold changes help deliver savings necessary to deliver the Government’s pension reform.

This is the passage of the Government’s first 2009-10 Budget bill.

Other legislation to implement the Government’s Secure and Sustainable Pension Reforms will be introduced into the Parliament in coming weeks, including the tough savings measures necessary to make the pension increases affordable and sustainable.

There changes are part of the Government’s Secure and Sustainable Pension Reforms to deliver a stronger fairer pension system and provide security and sustainability into the future.