Transcript by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Stimulus Payments – 2UE

Program: RADIO 2UE

*** E & OE – Proof only ***

MIKE CARLTON: Let’s talk to Jenny Macklin, first, the Minister for – it eludes me, she’s got about ten different titles, Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and presumably one gathers handing out money. She’s on the line, good morning.

JENNY MACKLIN: Good morning to you both.

SANDY ALOISI: Good morning Minister. I understand just to clarify this at first that the pensioners’ handout was delivered last year and so that’s been done and dusted.

JENNY MACKLIN: What we did in December last year was deliver the $1,400 payments to pensioners who are single and $2,100 for those who are couple pensioners and that also went to carers and people on the disability support pension. And as you know we said at the time that that was a down payment on the pension reform that we’ll deliver in the Budget.

SANDY ALOISI: Okay so from this morning the key grants being given out include single income family bonus, that’s $950, is that right?

JENNY MACKLIN: That’s correct. That’s for people who are families who are receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A so this is $900 that will be paid from today over the next fortnight and I think that’s important for people to know and it will be paid directly from Centrelink so people don’t need to ring Centrelink, they don’t need to apply, these payments will be sent to them directly.

MIKE CARLTON: So if you’re getting Part A how much do you get?

JENNY MACKLIN: If you’re on Family Tax Benefit Part A and you have a school aged child, so school age is defined as age 4 – 18, you’ll receive a $950 back to school bonus, and that will start to be paid from today over the next fortnight.

MIKE CARLTON: Alright, and that will just automatically land in your bank account.

JENNY MACKLIN: That’s exactly right. That’ll come in the way that you normally (inaudible) and it won’t be taxable.

SANDY ALOISI: And there’s also a training and learning bonus and this goes to students and people outside the workforce who return to studies, is that right?

JENNY MACKLIN: That’s correct. So it might be students who are enrolled to do a course at a TAFE or a university, it might be an apprentice. People who are receiving Youth Allowance, Austudy, Abstudy, those students will receive those payments, but they start on the 24 March.

MIKE CARLTON: Okay, what else is happening?

JENNY MACKLIN: As you can imagine this is a big task to get these payments out so they are a little bit staggered.

SANDY ALOISI: Minister can I just put to you a couple of queries from our listeners and see if you can answer them. One is from Drew, he’s the main breadwinner of the family, he says, but his wife studies and works casually. They have two school age children. What can they expect from this round of payments?

JENNY MACKLIN: Well it really depends whether they are receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A, and that will depend on their income. If they were receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A on the 3 February which was the date that these payments will were all announced, then they will get their payment from Centrelink in the normal way.

SANDY ALOISI: Okay, and another from Alison who’s a single mum, works part time, receives a part pension. She says her son, her teenage son, has a casual after school job. Will she get a payment this time?

JENNY MACKLIN: As you know in addition to the payments that I’ve just announced, there’s also a tax bonus that will start to be paid in April. So if people paid tax in the 2007-08 year and that may apply to her son, depending on whether or not he paid tax, it may apply to her. If she’s receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A which she may be, then she will receive the $950 back to school bonus, assuming that her son is in the age range 4 – 18.

SANDY ALOISI: I suppose every case is different so if people really want to clarify exactly what they’re eligible for is there a number they can contact.

JENNY MACKLIN: They can ring their normal Centrelink number but I would really suggest to people that they give Centrelink the chance to get these payments into people’s bank accounts over the next fortnight and just to give people the very clear message that if you are on Family Tax Benefit Part A and have a school aged child then you will receive this $950 back to school bonus and if you’re a single income family receiving Family Tax Benefit Part B then you’ll receive the $900 bonus and they’ll be paid in the normal way that you get your Centrelink payments.

MIKE CARLTON: Minister looking at all this and it’s like trying to find your way through a blackberry bush it’s so complex some of it, but I cannot see one single cracker in this for self-funded retirees anywhere.

JENNY MACKLIN: Oh well of course many self-funded retirees pay tax so if anyone paid a $1 of tax in the 2007-08 year then they will receive the tax bonus, and that will apply to many self-funded retirees. I should also mention that…

MIKE CARLTON: Well quite a few it won’t.

JENNY MACKLIN: Many will. We think that there’s many hundreds of thousands it will apply to. What they also received I did make sure that last December when we paid the extra amounts to pensioners that we also paid exactly the same amounts to self-funded retirees who were receiving a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, so the vast majority of people did receive those payments at the end of last year.

SANDY ALOISI: Okay, so just in conclusion, wait for Centrelink to put the payment in your account, any queries you can contact them. Thanks for your time Minister.

JENNY MACKLIN: Thank you very much.

MIKE CARLTON: Thank you, there we are. It’s hard to sort of cut through it all because there are so many different bits and pieces and Part A this and Part B that and so on.

SANDY ALOISI: But I think her advice is good. Wait and see what goes into your account and if you can identify what it is and say, yep, I should have gotten that, that’s all fine, well and good. Otherwise perhaps give Centrelink a call if you feel that you are eligible for another payment.

MIKE CARLTON: I’d start calling Centrelink now. You’d probably get through some time in April.

SANDY ALOISI: Very, very naughty.