Tuesday, 25 June 2013
Questions without Notice
Cost of Living
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Senator McLucas. Can the minister inform the Senate how this government is supporting Australian families to meet the cost of raising a family?
I thank the honourable senator for the question. The Gillard government is committed to building a fairer future for all Australian families. From next week more than 1.3 million Australian families will receive the second instalment of the Gillard government's schoolkids bonus. From 4 July eligible families will start receiving $205 for each child in primary school and $410 for each child in secondary school to help lighten the load for families facing back-to-school costs. In total, Australian families will receive about $1.3 billion in schoolkids bonus payments this year.
The schoolkids bonus is just one of the ways our government is supporting Australians to meet the costs of raising a family. From next week, more than 1.6 million Australians will get a boost to their regular family payments. This means that Australian families on low and middle incomes now receive up to $8,783 a year in support of a child in primary school, or more than $10,500 a year in support of a child in secondary school.
This is our way, this is the Labor way, of helping Australian families who need it most. We are helping them with the cost of power bills, with petrol and their grocery bills. Around the country Australian families have told our government how important the schoolkids bonus is to their family. But Mr Abbott has already told Australians that the schoolkids bonus is on the chopping block. Mr Abbott is prepared to hurt 1.3 million families if he becomes Prime Minister.
The Gillard government is working to build a fairer, smarter and stronger Australia where children are valued and their education is supported, while the Liberals want to cut it to the bone. (Time expired)
The Gillard government is committed to investing in the future of Australian families, students and older Australians. Our government introduced Australia's first national paid parental leave scheme, providing a fair system to support parents to take time off to spend with their newborn child. Already 300,000 Australian families have benefitted from the Paid Parental Leave Scheme.
We have delivered an increase to the childcare rebate from 30 to 50 per cent of out-of-pocket costs, up to $7,500 per child per year. Also, we have introduced the schoolkids bonus, which those opposite have said they will axe if they win the election.
We introduced the biggest dollar increase in history in the age pension and delivered the seniors work bonus, which means that older Australians can keep more of their pension when they work.
Also, we are delivering DisabilityCare Australia to support people with disabilities— (Time expired)
The Gillard government is continuing to support Australian families, students and older Australians as we work towards a clean energy future. Since March of this year more than 3.5 million pensioners, including people on age and disability pensions and people on carer payment, have begun receiving their ongoing clean energy supplement as part of their fortnightly payments. Over a year these pension increases are worth a total of more than $350 a year for singles and more than $530 a year for couples, combined.
Starting from this week, students, youth allowance recipients and pensioners receiving the quarterly supplement will also receive the clean energy payments as part of the Household Assistance Package delivered by the Gillard government.
We have delivered higher payments for families with teenagers to encourage them to stay in school, and we have delivered three rounds of tax cuts in our first three budgets— (Time expired)