Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Labor’s family figures still don’t add up

Labor Leader Kim Beazley has today demonstrated that Labor still cannot add up when it comes to the family budget.

Mr Beazley is falsely claiming that families will lose $150 because of the early introduction of the Howard Government’s election commitment to increase FTB Part B by $300 – this is clearly wrong.

Over 1.3 million Australians will benefit from the early delivery of the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part B election commitment. This increase is costing the Government an extra $209 million, bringing the total cost of the commitment to almost $2 billion.

Mr Beazley is falsely claiming that families will lose money because of the early introduction of the 30% child care tax rebate – this is clearly wrong.

The Treasurer has announced the 30% childcare tax rebate that was to be introduced from 1 January 2005 will be backdated to include out-of-pocket costs from 1 July 2004. Families will benefit from backdated payments, not ‘lose’ as Mr Beazley claims.

Mr Beazley is falsely claiming that families are worse off and ignoring the reality that

  • Labor would have abolished the Medicare Safety net
  • Labor would have abolished FTB Part B
  • Labor have admitted that families are better off under the Howard Government’s childcare policy, and
  • Families now receive on average $9500 per year in Family Tax Benefit and Child Care Benefit from the Howard Government.

Under Finance Minister Beazley, interest rates were 10.5 per cent (March 1996) they are now 7.3 per cent. At 10.5 per cent families would be paying $800 per month extra on a $300,000 mortgage. Under Employment Minister Beazley, unemployment was 10.9 per cent it is now 5.1 per cent.

As a result of the Howard Government’s strong economic management Australian families are now receiving record high family assistance. After 9 years Beazley’s figures still have a big black hole.