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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Families and carers to get budget bonus starting this week

About two million families will start receiving an average payment of an extra $1200 in their bank accounts from this week, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, said today.

The tax-free bonus payments of an extra $600 per child are part of the Australian Government’s $19.2 billion extra assistance for Australian families in the Budget and the $461 million Carers Package.

Senator Patterson announced a public awareness campaign for the Australian Government’s tax-free bonus payments which are for people receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A, Carer Payment and Carer Allowance.

She said people would automatically receive the payments in their bank accounts or by a cheque in the mail, starting on June 16. It is expected the majority of payments will have been made by June 22 and a smaller number until the end of June.

Senator Patterson said: “The newspaper and radio advertising campaign starting today (Sunday) will advise people about the lump-sum $600 payment for each child, the one-off $1000 carers’ bonus to recipients of Carer Payments and the $600 bonus for the Carer Allowance customers for each eligible person in their care.

“The One-Off Family Payment will see about two million eligible Australian families receive a $600 payment for each dependent child.

“For example, an eligible family with two children will receive a $1200 bonus before July 1, 2004, while an eligible family with four children will receive $2400.

“Strong economic growth and good economic management by the Howard Government has allowed it to deliver the extra financial support that families deserve.

“Over 80,000 people across Australia receiving the Carer Payment will get the one-off carers’ bonus of $1000 and over 280,000 people receiving Carer Allowance will be paid $600 for each eligible person in their care.

“For example, a carer who cares for one eligible person and receives both Carer Payment and Carer Allowance will get a $1,600 one-off bonus.

“These bonuses are an acknowledgment of the selfless contribution carers provide to the community. They put their own needs on hold while they are caring for a loved one and thoroughly deserve this recognition.

“The One-Off Family Payment and the One-Off Carer Bonus payment demonstrates the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to families and carers throughout Australia,” Senator Patterson said.