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Thursday, 18 November 2004
Page: 14


Ms LEY (Parliamentary SecretaryChildren and Youth Affairs) (9:52 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The measures contained in the bill ensure that the real value of fortnightly payments of family tax benefit part A will be maintained.

Under the legislation before 1 July 2004, the family assistance safety net benchmark was 16.6 per cent of the combined pensioner couple rate for children under 13 and 21.6 per cent of the combined pensioner couple rate for children aged 13 to 15.

To ensure that the fortnightly payments of family tax benefit part A are not lower than the safety net benchmark, this bill includes amendments to maintain wage linked adjustments to fortnightly rates if the wage linked adjustments exceed the CPI indexed amounts. Fortnightly payment rates will be adjusted at exactly the same time as they were before the introduction of the family tax benefit part A supplement.

The real value of the supplement, which is paid as a lump sum once a year, is maintained through indexation to the CPI.

These amendments will deliver on the government's commitment to ensure that the real value of family tax benefit is maintained in the future. They maintain the proportional parity of the fortnightly rate with the family assistance safety net benchmark while ensuring the family tax benefit part A supplement is indexed to the CPI. Through these amendments, the government is putting beyond any doubt that it is committed to ensuring that the real value of the substantially increased assistance is maintained. I commend the bill to the House and present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Bevis) adjourned.