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Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

Australian Government support for grandparent carers

Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said the Australian Government provided significant support to grandparents who find themselves the full time carer for grandchildren.

Responding to comment this morning on Channel Nine’s Today show by Alan Jones, Mr Brough said the Australian Government does pay Family Tax Benefits to grandparents who are providing full time care for grandchildren.

"Family Tax Benefit is payable to grandparents who have day to day care and responsibility of children, regardless of whether there are formal court orders relating to care.

"Similarly, rent assistance is also payable to grandparents receiving income support, subject to regular income and assets tests.

"The Howard Government also introduced Grandparent Child Care Benefit which covers the full cost of child care for up to 50 hours per week for those on income support, including the Age Pension.

"For grandparents not on income support, up to 50 hours of Child Care Benefit is still paid with no work, training or study test.

"Grandparents can also access the Foster Child Health Care Card for their grandchildren. This provides subsidised medications and access to bulk billing for medical consultations.

"There are also a range of state/territory supports available to foster parents/carers, subject to individual state and territory requirements.

"The Australian Government has been, through the Community and Disability Services Ministers’ Conference trying to work with states and territories to improve access to support, including extending their allowances to grandparents who don’t have formal court orders or guardianship.

"However, states have specifically excluded consideration of extension of allowances to informal grandparent carers – and this is the real issue.

"I will again be raising this issue with the states at the next meeting of Ministers in July.

"In the meantime, all Commonwealth payments relating to children are available to grandparent carers – whether or not they have legal responsibility for the child."