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Wednesday, 1 April 1998
Page: 2112


Ms GAMBARO —Can the Prime Minister inform the House what actions the government has taken to improve the living standards of Australian families?


Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —I know there are many members on my side of the House who are interested in benefits for the ordinary Australian people. I take the opportunity at this question time, as I will at future question times, of reminding the Australian public of the many things that we have done. For example, take a family with one breadwinner earning $40,000 a year and with two children, one of whom is under the age of five. The following facts in relation to the member's question are relevant. That particular family is eligible for the government's family tax initiative which reduces the tax by $200 a child and by a further $500 a child if that child is under the age of five years. Through that alone, the annual benefit is $900. That measure was promised by the coalition in the last election campaign and it was delivered on time, in full and without qualification by the Treasurer with effect from the beginning of 1997.

If the family has private health and ancillary insurance, they would be eligible for the maximum private health insurance rebate of $450 a year, a rebate incidentally that the member for Dobell would abolish the day he becomes health minister in any future Labor government.

From 1998-99, the working partner may receive the savings rebate. Once it takes full effect, this rebate will be worth a maximum of $450. The working partner might also receive the rebate for spouse superannuation contributions up to a maximum of $540. Moreover, if the family, like many Australian families, has a mortgage of $100,000, the reductions in interest rates which the government has brought about translate into an annual interest saving of no less than $3,800 a year.

If you add all of those together, you would get a grand total of $6,140. They are but some of the examples of the benefits that have been brought to Australian families by my government and the continuation of the policies that we have followed will guarantee that there are further benefits for wider sections of the Australian community under my administration.