Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Simpler and fairer family payments

A bill introduced in Parliament today will make the family payments system simpler and fairer, targeting assistance to those who need it most.

In line with its child-centred approach to family policy, the Australian Government is building a responsive, targeted social and income support system.

Under the amendments to the social security law, the family assistance law, the Veterans’ Entitlements Act and other related Acts, the Baby Bonus and Family Tax Benefit Part (FTB) B will be better targeted to support families most in need.

A means test of $150,000 a year on the payment of the Baby Bonus will be introduced based on the family’s income in the six months following birth on a pro rata basis. For all eligible births after 1 January 2009, the Baby Bonus will be paid in 13 fortnightly instalments of around $385.

The age restriction on the Baby Bonus for adoptive parents will also be lifted to help them with the costs of adopting a child.

We are also targeting FTB Part B to families whose primary income earner earns $150,000 or less annually. This will affect 40,000 families earning higher incomes.

Related dependency offsets – Dependent Spouse, Housekeeper, Child Housekeeper, Parent/Parent-in-law and Invalid Relative tax offsets – delivered through the tax system will also be targeted to those on $150,000 or less and a compliance regime will be developed for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

The bill also provides the capacity for people to voluntarily sign up for income management where they believe it would help them to better manage their finances.

Our first Budget delivered over $55 billion to support working families, seniors, carers and people with disability.

It was carefully framed to meet challenging economic times. It recognised that many Australians are under increasing financial strain from the cost of living and high interest rates.

The Budget also reflected the economic reality that inflation is the number one enemy of families, pensioners and the vulnerable in our community.