Changes in Family Tax Benefit to give children a strong start

The Government will introduce a further Family Tax Benefit bill to Parliament this week to increase fortnightly payments, encourage workforce participation and fund the child care reforms in the Jobs for Families package.

“The Government is committed to supporting parents as they raise their children, and equally committed to ensuring the family payment system is sustainable and effective in the long term,” the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter said.

The Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, has announced adjustments to the Jobs for Families package that will target childcare to those most in need. These changes will also allow the Government to better assist single-parents and grandparent carers through family tax benefits.

“After constructive consultations with the senate crossbench, the Government will ensure single parents aged over 60 years and grandparent and great-grandparent carers with a youngest child aged 13–18 years will be eligible to receive FTB-B at the standard rate,” Mr Porter said.

“When we first announced the FTB reforms, we said we were willing to listen to sensible observations. I thank the senators for their engagement and we will continue to talk to them to work towards securing the passage of this important bill.”

The bill will put more money in family pockets each fortnight. From July 2018, for families with a child aged up to 18 years, the maximum rate of FTB Part A, Youth Allowance, and Youth Disability Support Pension will be increased by about $10 per fortnight, while the end-of-year supplements will be phased out.

“The supplements were introduced to help people repay overpayments—this is no longer an issue, and will be further managed through new technology from 2018–19,” Mr Porter said.

The FTB Part B standard rate will be increased by $1,000 each year for eligible families whose youngest child is aged under one year.

Single parents aged under 60 years with a child aged 13–16 years who are eligible for FTB Part B will receive a standard rate of $1,000.

“The savings from these changes will fund a child care system that supports parents as they balance work and family, and that continues to give children access to quality early learning to get a head start in their education.”

The measures contained in the new bill will save taxpayers $4.8 billion over the forward estimates.

“Our welfare system is growing beyond the reasonable capacity of taxpayers to pay for it,” Mr Porter said.

“The annual social security budget is $154 billion—that’s one-third of the Government’s Budget, and represents about 80 per cent of all income tax paid in Australia. FTB is a big part of that, costing about $20 billion each year.”

“We listened to feedback from our parliamentary colleagues, and have delivered legislation that will help curb the unsustainable cost of our welfare system while supporting those most in need.”