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Government denies payment to adoptive parents.



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Tanya Plibersek MP Shadow Minister for Work, Family & Community Shadow Minister for Youth & Early Childhood Education Shadow Minister for Women

14 June 2005

GOVERNMENT DENIES PAYMENT TO ADOPTIVE PARENTS

The Howard Government today voted to deny the maternity payment to adoptive parents whose child comes into their care after the age of 2.

Labor proposed an amendment to Government legislation to remove the age test for children adopted by Australian parents.

The Government proposed to lift the age limit of a child from 6 months to 2 years, while Labor proposed to abolish the age test altogether.

2 years is an arbitrary figure that will preclude Australian parents who endure the most lengthy and expensive adoption processes from receiving the maternity payment, a payment currently worth $3000.

The result of the vote by government members to defeat this amendment is that Australians who adopt children over the age of two will miss out entirely on the maternity payment through no fault or omission on their part.

This is a very unfair result, particularly because the maternity payment is not means tested.

This means that an Australian couple who are infertile and decided to adopt a child, with all the expense and emotional hardships of this process, are not eligible for the maternity payment whereas millionaires are.

Thus a mother who is a millionaire, or whose husband is a millionaire, is eligible for the maternity payment but an Australian couple on average incomes whose adopted child is over 2 when he or she enters the family are not eligible.

For further information on the case for unrestricted access to the maternity payment by adoptive parents, Ms Karleen Gribble, spokesperson for adoptive families, can be contacted on (02) 4328 4340.