Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Evans family tax benefit embarrassment

The Howard Government is proud to confirm that 1.6 million Australian families have already received the benefit of the $600 per child increase in Family Tax Benefit, after lodging their 2003-04 tax returns.

The Government has made it clear that families would receive the benefits of the $600 increase when their tax return was lodged. Families have received an average top-up of $1320 as a result of the increase.

The Howard Government’s $600 per child payment has provided real families with real money.

Senator Evans has today embarrassed himself by claiming the record high number of payments to families at the end of the year is the result of ‘hundreds of thousands of Australian families overestimating their income’ (sic). The reality is that these figures relate to Australian families receiving their $600 per child payment, as promised by the Howard Government.

Senator Evans chooses to ignore that the top up figure includes not only the $600 per child increase, but also families who have opted to take some of all of their payment as an end of year lump sum – part of the Government’s More Choices for Families Policy taken up by almost 800,000 customers.

Since I became Minister in October 2003, measures I have introduced have seen the numbers of overpayments reduced from over 30% to 8%.

New measures, including the quarantining of FTB B payments when a mother returns to work, will further help prevent overpayments.

Families are now receiving record levels of financial assistance.

Senator Evans has again demonstrated that when it comes to managing money, Labor’s calculations just cannot add up.