Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Bonuses for families to support jobs

From today, families will start to receive cash bonuses as part of the Australian Government’s Nation Building and Jobs Plan.

These payments will support families and local businesses across the country.

Stimulus payments like these are a responsible way to quickly boost consumption in order to immediately reduce pressure to cut staff.

The Rudd Government is providing these cash payments to immediately support jobs and strengthen the Australian economy in the face of the global financial crisis.

Families with school age children eligible for Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A will receive a $950 Back to School Bonus for each eligible child. This measure represents an economic stimulus of $2.6 billion.

The Bonus will support almost 2.8 million children in 1.5 million low and middle-income families with children ages 4 to 18 years inclusive.

The Back to School Bonus will also be paid for young people 18 years of age or younger who were receiving Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment on 3 February 2009.

A Single-Income Family Bonus of $900 will be paid to 1.5 million low and middle-income families eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part B at a cost of $1.3 billion.

The measures will strengthen the national economy and provide financial assistance to low and medium-income households.

These payments, which will be made automatically by Centrelink in the fortnight commencing today, will be non-taxable and will not be counted as income for social security purposes. The payments will also not be used to offset social security, family assistance or child support debts.

Families need to be eligible for the relevant payment – FTB parts A or B – on 3 February to receive the relevant bonus.

If families claim their Family Tax Benefit as a lump sum at the end of the financial year, the payment will be made after their actual income for the 2008-09 year is known. Families can change to fortnightly payments to get their payment sooner.