Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Families get more than $800 in FTB top-up payment extension

An estimated 35,000 families will be eligible for an average payment of more than $800 after the Senate today passed legislation giving families a 12-month extension to receive a top-up payment for their Family Tax Benefit payments, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, said today.

The legislation, which gives people a top-up payment for 2001-02 if they lodge their relevant tax return by June 30, 2004, was passed with the support of Independent Senators.

Senator Patterson said the changes would extend the time for a top-up payment for families to two years after the end of the relevant income year.

“This measure will now enable top-ups to be paid in respect of the 2001-02 income year if the relevant tax returns are lodged by June 30, 2004,” she said.

Top-up payments are given to families who overestimate their income to ensure families receive their correct entitlement.

Senator Patterson said Labor had refused to support the legislation. Under Labor no top-up payments were ever paid to families.

“Under Labor’s rules, if a family estimates their income incorrectly and does not get the family payment they are entitled to it is too bad. The family has to wear it and they lose out,” she said.

“Labor refused to support the legislation in the Senate which will allow people to claim these top-up payments for the 2001-02 income year.”

Senator Patterson said families received nearly $2 billion more every year than under the previous system with families receiving $6000 a year on average in family assistance.