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Cost of kids the key: new data.



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MEDIA RELEASE

Further information: Philip O’Donoghue — Ph 02 9310 4844 ext. 213 — Mob 0417 370 244 Australian Council of Social Service — www.acoss.org.au/media Level 2 619 Elizabeth St Redfern — Locked Bag 4777 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012 Ph [02] 9310 4844 Fax [02] 9310 4822

mr1216_taxcutvftb.doc

ACOSS Media Release Embargoed Until 1.00 am Tuesday 16 December 2003

Cost of Kids the Key: New Data

The Australian Council of Social Service released today new data comparing the actual cost of meeting the bare minimum needs for families raising children with the payment levels for family tax benefit and social security.

ACOSS has updated research by the University of New South Wales Social Policy Research Centre that shows:

æ The bare minimum cost of raising a primary school kid, including for food and clothing is $137 per week - family tax benefit plus the child component of rent assistance is only $76 pw.

æ The bare minimum cost of raising teenagers aged 13 - 15 years is $152 pw - the current rate of family tax benefit (plus the child component of rent assistance) for a teenager between 13 - 15 years is only $94 pw.

æ The maximum rate of Youth Allowance for a 16 or 17 year old at home is a mere $85 pw - which is even less than income support for younger children.

ACOSS Deputy President, Ms Sue Ham said: “Members of the government and opposition have been talking up tax cuts for those who are well off. This is a lousy way to help ordinary families with kids.

“The $4 a week ‘sandwich and milkshake’ tax cuts earlier this year cost $2.4 billion. This was wasteful and unfair; the money was spread too thinly. Using and improving the family tax benefit and income support system is the key to a fairer way of helping those who really need it and means money is not wasted in a give away to the well-off.

“Instead of cutting taxes for the well off, family tax benefit and income support should reflect the actual cost of raising kids.”

The costs of a child in a low income family, compared with Family Tax Benefit Part A (children up to 15 years) and Youth Allowance (children over 15 years) (dollars per week in September 2003)

Age of child: Under 5

years

5-12 years

13-15 years

16-17 years

18-24 years

Low income Budget Standards*

$98 $137 $152 $163* $178*

AMP-NATSEM study (low income families) $56 $100 $132 $217 $219

Child/youth payments (FTBA, YA, child share of RA) $76 $76 $94 $85 $102

Sources: DSS 1998, AMP-NATSEM 2002, Centrelink data; Notes: Child/Youth payments includes: (FTB( Part A but not Part B), Youth Allowance, and the child’s share of Rent Assistance; The SPRC Budget Standards only extend to age 14. A trend line has been added to extend them hypothetically to older children. Assumptions, data and sources available from ACOSS.