Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Eligible families will be $1,200 better off per child in next 12 months

Today in Question Time the Prime Minister confirmed that around 2 million Australian families eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A would be $1,200 per child better off over the next 12 months.

The new payments are part of the Government’s $19.2 billion increase in family assistance under the More Help for Families Budget package.

A one-off payment of $600 per child will be made to the majority of eligible families before the end of June.

The maximum and base rate of FTB A is also being increased every year by $600 per child. This additional assistance in relation to the 2003-04 year will be payable from September 2004. This is a transitional arrangement while new systems are put in place for this ongoing benefit, with eligible families able to receive the payment from July 1 every year, beginning in 2005.

As officials from the Department of Family and Community Services advised the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee today, it is not possible to pay the second and ongoing $600 per child until September, due to the need to make extensive IT system changes.

Until families’ correct entitlements can be determined in September it would be inappropriate to issue any overpayment notices before then.

Under the Coalition Government families in similar circumstances are treated the same and all families eligible for FTB receive their correct entitlement.