Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Economic Security Strategy Payments Start Today

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Wayne Swan MP, Treasurer

Families and pensioners will start receiving their payments today from the Rudd Government’s $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy to strengthen the economy in the face of the global financial crisis and create up to 75,000 jobs.

From today, around two million families eligible for Family Tax Benefit A, with 3.9 million children, will begin receiving lump sum payments of $1000 for each eligible child. This will provide a $3.9 billion stimulus to the Australian economy.

Australia’s four million pensioners, carers, seniors and veterans will receive a massive $4.8 billion in immediate financial assistance. For the first time, these lump sum payments are being extended to include Disability Support pensioners.

The $4.8 billion package builds on the $7.5 billion in support provided in the Government’s first budget, bringing new spending on pensioners, seniors and carers to $12.3 billion.

Lump sum payments of $1400 for singles and $2100 for couples will be made.

Self-funded retirees who are eligible for a Seniors Concession Allowance or hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will receive the same lump sum payments.

And people receiving Carer Allowance will receive $1000 for each eligible person they care for.

The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, said the payments would provide a vital boost to the economy at a time when other developed economies were facing severe slowdowns.

“The Government’s decisive, early action will help protect our economy from the global financial crisis which began in the US and has seen a slowing in growth around the world.

“While Australia is better placed to withstand the impact of the global financial crisis, we can’t completely resist the pull of international forces.

“With these payments, recent big cuts in interest rates and our investment in health, education and infrastructure, we are using all policy levers to create jobs and protect Australians from the worst the world can throw at us,” Mr Swan said.

The Treasurer said the Rudd Government had made tough decisions in the May budget to build up a large surplus as a buffer against tough economic times.

“These tough times have now arrived and the Government is now investing the surplus to strengthen the economy and create jobs in the face of a global recession.”

The Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs , Jenny Macklin said the payments would support lower and middle income families – the backbone of the economy – along with pensioners and carers whose budgets were stretched by the rising cost of living and the impact of the global financial crisis.

“The lump sum payments to pensioners are a down-payment on essential, long-term reform of the pension system to be delivered in the next budget.

“The Government is reforming the pension system to give pensioners the security and certainty they deserve and to prepare Australia for the challenges of the future,” Ms Macklin said.

Centrelink will deliver the payments over the next fortnight.

The payments will be staggered over the next two weeks and will be made as closely as possible to people’s usual pay day.

Customers do not need to apply for the payments as eligibility will be assessed automatically.