Media Release by The Hon John Cobb MP

1 January 2007 changes to help families and seniors

Acting Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, John Cobb, today said from 1 January 2007, individuals and families would be further supported with the implementation of a number of Howard Government measures.

  • People on income support who experience domestic violence from a family member, and remain at home after the family member has left, may receive a one-off Crisis Payment of approximately $230;
  • Carer Allowance to increase to $98.50 each fortnight for eligible recipients;
  • Carer Payment Special (Non Customer) Care Receivers Income and Asset Limits to increase which will mean more people with a higher income and assets will be able to receive payment;
  • Double Orphan Pension Basic Rate to increase to $49.40 each fortnight;
  • Age Pensioners who have been living on a farm and rural residential property for 20 years may have that land, on the same title as the family home, excluded from the assets test. This $173.3 million Howard Government initiative will allow pensioners to receive a higher rate of pension, or enable people to become eligible for the pension for the first time.
  • Norway Social Security Agreement to commence allowing Australian residents who have lived and worked in Norway to access the Norwegian old age pension, disability and survivors’ pensions.
  • Introduction of the second stage of the Child Support reform, delivering a system which is fairer and puts the needs of children first, based on the independent Parkinson Report recommendations including the introduction of reviewability of CSA decisions by the Social Security Appeals Tribunal and additional time for parents to settle agreed parenting arrangements before it affects Family Tax Benefit.

‘This year the Australian Government will spend nearly $28 billion to help Australian families with children, nearly double the spending in 1996. Combined with tax relief this has significantly reduced the financial burden on families.

‘Families have benefited from the Howard Government’s management of the economy, leading to more jobs, higher real wages and the lowest levels of unemployment for decades. It is important to continue to secure that prosperity for the benefit of future families and I am worried about the policy on the run from the ALP and their inability to explain how they will pay for it all – which can undermine future prosperity.’

‘The beneficial changes coming into effect on 1 January demonstrate the Howard Government’s ongoing efforts to try to ensure all Australians share in the opportunities and prosperity of our nation in a fair and sustainable way,’ Mr Cobb said.