House debates

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Constituency Statements

Family Payments

10:19 am

Photo of Graham PerrettGraham Perrett (Moreton, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Despite the harmful legacy of the 2014 budget, the Turnbull government is still intent on hurting families by cutting the family tax benefit. Labor has managed to protect grandparent carers from the worst of the cuts, but the Turnbull agenda remains steeped in unfairness. Hardworking families will be hit hardest by these cruel and unfair cuts to the family tax benefits. In my electorate of Moreton, 8,884 families on family tax benefit A will lose $726 a year for every child. The 7,708 families in Moreton who are on family tax benefit B will also suffer a cut of $354 per family. I was raised by a single mum so I know that single parent families find it tough enough already to raise their children alone. They will face, sadly, a massive reduction in family tax benefit B when their youngest child turns 13. They will typically be facing a cut of $4,700 a year. A family with two parents and two children in school will typically be facing a cut of $2,600 a year.

Most families understand that every dollar is crucial when it comes to balancing the family budget. Children are expensive. My boys are six and 10 and I know that it does not get less expensive as they get older. In fact, 13-year-olds can be much more expensive than three-year-olds. I am really looking forward to that! For example, active children who are involved in sports cost their family a lot of money in sports clothing, equipment and club registration and insurance. A cut of $4,700 a year for single parent families, or $2,600 a year for two-parent families, might make participating in sporting activities out of reach for many children. This is at a time when childhood obesity is on the rise. As I saw at a diabetes conference recently, even diabetes is on the rise for young children.

It is not only unfair; we also want our next generation to be fit and healthy members of Australian society. We want them to have had the benefit of a childhood where their parents can afford to give them healthy food, to provide them with proper medical care and education and to encourage them to be active members of society. These cuts from the Turnbull government will make that impossible for many families so many children will suffer. These are cuts to families who cannot afford more cuts. More than 600,000 families receiving family tax benefit A earn less than $40,000 a year. Once again, the Turnbull government is attacking those who can least afford it.

On top of that we have had flagged a raising of the GST. If the government carries through this 50 per cent hike, taking it up to 15 per cent, households will be hit by up to $4,000 extra on top of those cuts to the family tax benefit that I have outlined. They will be paying more for healthy food for their children—for fruit and veggies—for medical expenses, for clothing, for education, for electricity, and even sporting club fees. Labor understands fairness and values families. We will always stand up for those.