Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

New easy guide to Government’s Family Assistance Payments

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today released a new guidebook, which gives families and communities detailed information on the Government’s family assistance payments.

Senator Patterson said The What, Why and How of Family Assistance booklet, published by the Australian Government’s Family Assistance Office, was a comprehensive guide to the record levels of assistance and services available to families.

‘This valuable resource informs families about the full range of support they can gain from the Australian Government to help with the cost of raising children and to help balance work and family needs,’ Senator Patterson said.

‘When I became Minister I made a commitment to simplify forms and improve communication for families. On 1 July this year, I introduced more user-friendly forms for people accessing assistance. I am confident this booklet will build on our commitment and ensure people have a better understanding of their family assistance entitlements.’

The guidebook uses simple language to explain the main family assistance payments comprising the Family Tax Benefit Parts A and B, the Child Care Benefit, Maternity Payment and Maternity Immunisation Allowance.

For families with extra needs, it also gives details of the assistance available comprising Rent Assistance, Health Care Card, Large Family Supplement, Multiple Birth Allowance, Carer Allowance and Parenting Payment.

‘The What, Why and How of Family Assistance will help two million families, with 3.5 million children, to understand their family assistance payments and how to access their entitlements more easily,’ Senator Patterson said.

‘It also provides information on the new Budget measures available to families including the $600 per child ongoing supplement and $3000 Maternity Payment.

‘The Howard Government now provides Australian families with an average of $7000 a year family tax benefits and on average $2000 a year in child care benefits.

‘Since 1996, the Government has increased the maximum and base rates of payments by $940 per year for each child – a real increase in the base rate of more than 110 per cent.’

The new booklet will be available from all of the 550 Family Assistance Offices around Australia from next week. A copy of it is also available on the Family Assistance Office website.

Families can get their own copy of the booklet from their local FAO office or by calling 136150.