Thursday, 16 August 2007
Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Legislation Amendment (Child Disability Assistance) Bill 2007
That this bill be now read a second time.
The measure in this bill is a further demonstration of the government’s commitment to people with disability and their carers. These changes ensure that families receiving an instalment of carer allowance on 1 July 2007 for caring for a child with disability will be paid $1,000 to help them purchase assistance, including things like additional respite, equipment or early intervention therapy for their child, as they deem necessary.
This will be an annual payment for eligible families in receipt of carer allowance on 1 July each year. The payment will be made for each child under 16 who attracts a payment of carer allowance for their carer.
The Australian government recognises that children with disability and their families have diverse needs which may also change over time. Young children with disability can benefit from early intervention and therapy to maximise their early childhood development and learning. Some families and children will benefit from a break, such as respite care. As they develop, older children may outgrow aids and equipment and need them to be replaced. Home or vehicle modifications, such as a hoist in the home or help to travel in the family car, may also be necessary.
Through this very practical initiative, the Australian government will help families with the purchase of such assistance. Importantly, the payment will help carers to purchase the form of assistance that best suits the needs of their family.
The payment provided by this bill will not be subject to income tax, nor will it count as income for social security or family assistance purposes.
In 2007, the $1,000 payment will be automatically paid to eligible families in October. In subsequent years, the payment will be automatically paid to eligible families in July. No claim is required on behalf of the families.
This payment will improve the quality of life for around 130,000 children with disability, their families and carers, and will be a practical way in which we, as a federal government, can help them with the difficult, challenging and lifelong task that many undertake in caring for a child with a disability. I commend the bill to the House.
Debate (on motion by Mr Griffin) adjourned.