Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Howard Government delivers more help for Grandparent carers

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today delivered on the first of the promises made by the Coalition during the 2004 election campaign, announcing that from 1 November the work, training and study test for access to Child Care Benefit would be waived for grandparents who are the primary carers of their grandchildren.

‘The work, training, study tests applied to Child Care Benefit will be waived for eligible grandparent carers, effective from Monday. This will allow them to receive up to $140.50 for up to 50 hours of child care for each child, each week,’ Senator Patterson said.

‘Previously only 20 hours of CCB ($56.20) would be paid to carers who are not working, training or studying.

‘These changes will support the grandparents who have taken on the parenting role when parents are no longer able to care for their children and reflects the Australian Government’s ongoing support for the important role they play in our society.

‘Up to 16,000 grandparents who have the primary responsibility for raising and caring for a grandchild may now be entitled to additional support through Child Care Benefit (CCB), providing more help with the costs of approved child care.

‘In addition to this increased access to CCB, from 1 January 2005, subject to passage of legislation, an eligible grandparent carer in receipt of an income support payment will be able to receive a special rate of CCB, which will cover the full cost of approved child care for up to 50 hours for each child, each week.

‘This initiative builds on the Australian Government’s response to the COTA National Seniors report, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, which called on more recognition and support for the important job these remarkable grandparents do.

‘This improved access by grandparents to Australian Government support recognises the importance of their role as primary carers for two generations, it also shows the Government’s commitment to the future of these children,’ Senator Patterson said.

For more information contact the Family Assistance Office on 13 61 50, or visit your local Family Assistance Office, located in Medicare Offices, Centrelink Customer Service Centres and Tax Office Shopfronts.