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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 6979

Family Payments

Mr MITCHELL (McEwen) (14:10): They will love it, Madam Deputy Speaker. My question is to the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform. How is the government helping families with the cost of sending their kids to school? When will this assistance take effect? Are there any obstacles to its delivery?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs has the call and will be heard in silence.

Ms MACKLIN (JagajagaMinister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform) (14:11): I thank the member for McEwen for his question, because he understands that families in Australia already have enough on their plates. That is why people on this side of the parliament want to do everything we possibly can to help them out, particularly to help out those families who have children at school. That is why the Acting Prime Minister and Treasurer has indicated that from tomorrow families will be receiving the schoolkids bonus directly into their bank accounts, and 1.3 million Australian families will get extra help. That will happen from tomorrow. Of course, from next year families will get their schoolkids bonus paid at the start of term 1 and the start of term 3, just when they need it. I can inform the member for McEwen that nearly 13,000 families will get the schoolkids bonus in his electorate, and more than 22,000 children in primary and secondary school in the electorate of McEwen will benefit. I have absolutely no doubt that those families and those children—like the two million children right around Australia—will be very pleased to see this extra money come into their bank accounts in the next fortnight.

We know that families are already very busy people. Parents are running around doing things for their kids every day, and one thing they do not need is the extra job of keeping receipts. Those opposite seem to have absolutely no connection with reality when it comes to how busy parents are. In fact, the member for Menzies said that he did not think it was a problem at all for parents to have to keep their receipts. People on this side of the parliament understand how busy parents are, and that is why we are making this change and introducing the school kids bonus, and making sure that parents no longer have to keep their receipts. They will get the money straight into their bank accounts when they need it.

It is not only that those opposite do not understand how busy parents are; they also do not understand the financial pressures that parents are under. That is why every single one of those opposite voted no to the schoolkids bonus, just as the Liberals down there in Victoria have just abolished the school start bonus and just like Barry O'Farrell. Barry O'Farrell wants to claw back the money that this government is giving pensioners. Barry O'Farrell is going to increase public housing rents. This government wants to help families. This government wants to help pensioners while all you can do is say no. (Time expired)