Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Greater support for families with triplets, quadruplets and quintuplets

Families with triplets, quads and quintuplets will receive a major boost in a key initiative in the 2007-08 federal Budget.

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough said the Multiple Birth Allowance for these children would be extended until they turn at least 16.

“This represents a major ongoing commitment by the Howard Government to families with higher order multiple births,” Mr Brough said.

“These families face a significantly increased financial burden as a result of having triplets or greater numbers of children in one birth.

“This initiative, costing $10 million over the next four years, will greatly benefit these families who previously only received the additional support until the children’s sixth birthday.

“From January 2008, the Allowance will continue to be paid until children turn 16, or the end of the year they turn 18 for eligible fulltime students.

“This initiative will be particularly helpful to families in meeting education costs for their higher order multiple birth children.

“Parents of triplets, quads and quintuplets have told us that the start of school is one of their most expensive times with the need to purchase school requirements for three or more children at a time. This extension will help these families with their children’s primary and high school education.

“More than $3,000 is paid each year for families with triplets and more than $4,000 each year for families with quadruplets or larger multiple births.

“There are over 1,000 families in Australia who will benefit from the extension of this allowance.

“This is yet another example of the Howard Government’s ongoing support for Australian families.”

Multiple Birth Allowance – extension of eligibility

Why is this important?

  • Multiple Birth Allowance is an additional component of FTB Part A for people who have triplets or larger multiple birth sets until these children turn six. These families currently experience a significant drop in assistance when their children turn six and Multiple Birth Allowance ceases.
  • The cost of raising higher order multiple birth children (three or more) does not diminish once they turn six. Their entry to fulltime education is likely to result in additional costs. These families do not have the benefit of handing down school uniforms, shoes, textbooks and other school items. Instead, these costs are all incurred at the same time for three or more children. Also, some higher order multiple birth children require extra assistance with a physical, intellectual, social or behavioural disorder/s due to premature birth.
  • Extending the payment of Multiple Birth Allowance until those children turn 16 years of age, or until the end of the calendar year in which they turn 18 for fulltime students, will help to ease the financial burden of the children’s primary and secondary schooling for these families.

Who will benefit?

  • Over 1,000 families with triplets, quads or quintuplets will benefit from this measure. From 1 January 2008, over 300 families currently receiving Multiple Birth Allowance will continue to receive the payment beyond the children’s sixth birthday and an estimated 746 families will start receiving Multiple Birth Allowance for children who are already over six years of age. Eligible families will receive the allowance for up to an additional 13 years.
  • In 2006-07, Multiple Birth Allowance is an additional $3,076.95 per annum ($118.02 per fortnight) for families with triplets, and $4,102.60 per annum ($157.36 per fortnight) for families with quadruplets (or larger multiple births). Multiple Birth Allowance is added to the base rate of Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A payable and is subject to the FTB Part A income test.

What funding is the Government committing to the initiative?

  • Extending Multiple Birth Allowance will cost $10 million over four years.

What have we done in the past?

  • Multiple Birth Allowance was introduced in November 1985 in recognition of the extra costs faced by parents following the simultaneous birth of three or more children, as well as the indirect costs of reduced workforce participation particularly while the children are very young. These families are also eligible for the Large Family Supplement which is paid at $255.50 a year for the third and each subsequent child. The Large Family Supplement was extended in last year’s Budget to include the third child in a family.

When will the initiative conclude?

  • The extension of Multiple Birth Allowance is ongoing.