Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

National Families Day

Tomorrow is National Families Day, which marks the culmination of National Families Week.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, said the theme of the week was: “Celebrate Your Family!”.

“It is vital that we look after our families because strong, healthy families improve the welfare of the community, as well as having a positive impact on the economic and social wellbeing of Australia,” she said.

“The importance of strong families was recognised in this week’s Federal Budget, which delivered a record $19.2 billion extra assistance for Australian families in the More help for Families package.”

Senator Patterson said the package would help families with the cost of raising children, improve rewards from work and help balance work and family.

“Families will not have to wait long for the extra assistance. About two million families will receive a $600 payment for each child before the end of next month,” she said.

Legislation passed the Parliament this week to give effect to the More help for Families package – the biggest family assistance package ever put in place by an Australian Government.

Senator Patterson said the legislation ensures that families get a lump sum of $600 for each child. Most eligible families will receive their money before June 30, 2004.

Also, families eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A will get an ongoing increase in the maximum and base rates of FTB Part A of $600 for each child for the 2003-04 income year and every year thereafter.

Senator Patterson said: “For example, an eligible family in 2004-05 with two children will be $2400 better off as a result of this new measure.”

She said families should be concerned by Opposition Leader Mark Latham’s refusal last night to give a guarantee that families would not receive less family benefits under a Labor government.