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Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Page: 4309


Ms SMYTH (La Trobe) (14:11): My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, how will the budget spread the benefits of the mining boom while delivering a surplus and helping families to make ends meet?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:11): I thank the member for La Trobe for her question, and I know that she is concerned about families in her electorate who can struggle to make ends meet, to pay the bills when they come in and to pay all of the costs for getting the kids to school. In fact, in the member for La Trobe's electorate we have 10,300 families who will receive our schoolkids bonus because they are families with 18,150 school-aged children. That means the families in the member for La Trobe's electorate will see almost $11 million to assist them with the costs of getting the kids to school.

This is part of a Labor budget, a Labor budget where we have delivered for the economy to make sure that we are doing the right things to keep our economy strong. We have come out of the global financial crisis strong and we work together to achieve it. The government is playing its part with employers and trade unions to keep people in jobs. Now, as our economy returns to trend growth, is the right time to deliver a surplus, to give us a buffer for the future, to ensure the Reserve Bank has the room to move, should it choose to do so, and reduce interest rates.

As we have made the difficult savings choices to bring the budget to surplus, we have been determined to protect and support working families and their children. There is no better way of doing that than by assisting families with the costs of getting the kids to school. We know right around the nation that, whether it be the winter uniform, the school excursion, the new books, the new shoes and then needing to get another pair of shoes as the kids grow, that those bills, those costs, can put pressure on working families. That is why we are very proud that we will be delivering to them a schoolkids bonus—$820 per secondary student, $410 per primary student—and that they will see that money coming to them before the end of this financial year and then in following years in January and July.

We trust working families, we respect them and we know they are making the best decisions for their children. We know schooling costs them a lot more than $410 and $820. It is only those who are cosseted on Sydney's North Shore that could fail to realise that working families need relief, working families face the costs of getting kids to school, and we are intending to help them with those costs because we respect them and we want to support them. We will not spend our days offering cheap insults to their ability to look after their children.