Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

ACOSS Should Pursue Labor for Guarantee of $600 Payment

ACOSS should be demanding that the Labor Party commit to the increase of $600 per child each year in the rate of Family Tax Benefit (A), the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, said today.

The Labor Party has refused to give a commitment to maintain the $600 for each child beyond the 2004-05 financial year.

Under the Howard Government’s $19.2 billion increase in family assistance in its More Help for Families Budget package, FTB A will be increased every year by $600 per child.

Senator Patterson said ACOSS’s concerns are unfounded.

“The Howard Government has guaranteed that the real value of FTB A payments, including the $600 per child increase, will be maintained in the future,” she said.

Senator Patterson said: “ACOSS would be better served to represent the interests of around two million Australian families by demanding Labor give a guarantee that it will preserve the new ongoing $600 per child payment beyond 2004-05.”

Opposition frontbencher Bob McMullan has refused to give an undertaking that the Government’s new $600 per child payment would be payable after 2004-05.

“What should be of concern to ACOSS, and Australian families, is Mr Latham’s Budget reply interview on the 7.30 Report. Twice Mr Latham was asked to give a pledge that no family would actually end up getting less from a Labor government and twice he failed to give that guarantee.”