Nation Building and Jobs Plan – 2GB
*** E & OE – Proof only ***
LUKE BONA: Yes, I listened to the announcements yesterday about the handouts to working families and singles and I thought I understood who was getting what but there is a lot of confusion out there, and one of the newspapers even talks about the income threshold being household income. So now I’m confused. Let’s clear this up, the Minister for Family Services is Jenny Macklin, and she’s on the line. Jenny, or Minister I should say, good afternoon.
JENNY MACKLIN: Good to be with you.
LUKE BONA: Well, Minister before you in plain English explain to us who gets what and when, this news now that the Opposition is going to block this legislation in the Senate has really put you on the back foot hasn’t it? The Opposition doesn’t have the numbers to do this on their own and they are going to need the help from the Independents aren’t they?
JENNY MACKLIN: This demonstrates how completely out of touch the Liberal Party and Mr Turnbull are with the seriousness of the global financial crisis. Australian families understand, Australian businesses and employees understand just how complex and how important it is for the Government to act quickly and decisively. Mr Turnbull does not understand. He’s standing in the way of jobs, he’s standing in the way of supporting our economy and our families.
LUKE BONA: What are his reasons?
JENNY MACKLIN: You’d have to ask him ……
LUKE BONA: I will try.
JENNY MACKLIN: What his reasons are but plainly he does not understand how serious this global financial crisis is and how important it is for the Government to act swiftly and decisively to do everything we possibly can to support jobs.
LUKE BONA: People quite understandably in these tough times. They simply want to know how do I get my money? And look many of these people have had no, what about people who have had no contact whatsoever with Government agencies, like people who have been included in handouts before, they’re not Centrelink clients, but maybe they don’t have children so they know nothing about Family Tax Benefits Part A, B or Z, what happens? Does a cheque just arrive in the mail?
JENNY MACKLIN: Let me take you through it. For those Australians who were taxpayers in the 2007-8 financial year and they’ve put their tax returns in, they will receive the following bonuses. If they earned up to $80,000 they will receive $950, if they earned between $80,000 and $90,000 they’ll receive $650, and if they earned between $90,000 and $100,000 they’ll get a $300 bonus. They don’t need to apply for the payment because the Australian Taxation Office will automatically make the payment after they determine eligibility, and a cheque will be sent to them in April.
LUKE BONA: April.
JENNY MACKLIN: That one’s very clear.
LUKE BONA: Now what about people with children, can you take us through that?
JENNY MACKLIN: For those with children, if people are receiving Family Tax Benefit A, so Centrelink will know who you are, so if you have a child aged between 4 and 18 and Centrelink will know that as well, you will receive $950 and that’s per child, Back to School bonus. That too will be paid automatically from Centrelink, people don’t have to apply for it. As soon as we get this legislation through the Parliament will be able to act and get that payment into people’s pockets.
LUKE BONA: Okay that’s Family Tax Benefit A.
JENNY MACKLIN: Yes, that’s right.
LUKE BONA: Child 4 to 18.
JENNY MACKLIN: Correct.
LUKE BONA: $950 per child Back to School bonus.
JENNY MACKLIN: Yes.
LUKE BONA: Now what about people who receive Family Tax Benefits annually? They’ll be assessed on their 2008-9 taxable income?
JENNY MACKLIN: If people receive their Family Tax Benefit at the end of the financial year they can apply to Centrelink to have their situation assessed now so if they want to receive the bonus now rather than at the end of June they can apply to Centrelink.
LUKE BONA: Now you see for some people, May might be a great month, February might be a dud month, you know, and they might want to say, listen I will wait till the end of the year to see how accurately my yearly income can be, so we are going to have a lot of money not coming through into the market places so that’ll be it.
JENNY MACKLIN: No, the vast majority of people will receive their Family Tax Benefit fortnightly and the way it’s going to work is the same as it worked in December. If you’re eligible for Family Benefit Part A on the 3rd of February then you will be eligible for the bonus.
LUKE BONA: Okay, so would you recommend then that people presently claiming Family Tax Benefits annually, should they swap to monthly and then swap back after the cheque’s arrived?
JENNY MACKLIN: Well, that’s really a matter for each individual family to make an assessment about, but what I would say to them is if they want to receive their payments fortnightly and they’d like to receive this bonus earlier, they should contact Centrelink.
LUKE BONA: Alright Jenny Macklin, we’ll keep a close eye on what develops this afternoon.
JENNY MACKLIN: Okay.
LUKE BONA: Thank you for your time.
JENNY MACKLIN: Thank you.