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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6294


Mr GEORGANAS (Hindmarsh) (15:10): My question is to the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth. Will the minister inform the House of how the schoolkids bonus is being delivered to Australian parents? What are the facts about how this will benefit families?

Mr GARRETT (Kingsford SmithMinister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth) (15:11): I thank the member for Hindmarsh for his question. The passage of the budget's second reading is good news for families around Australia, because in that budget we continue our commitment to supporting education for families right around Australia. Importantly, we continue our commitment on the national partnerships that sees the federal Labor government provide support to the states for specific investments in things like teacher quality, literacy and numeracy, and low-socioeconomic communities.

I was very pleased that the COAG Reform Council reported today that reward payments to the states have been paid by the Commonwealth on these national partnerships—in particular, $147 million in reward payments on literacy and numeracy. This is an important national partnership. We have seen about half a million students benefiting from additional support in schools as they come through primary school, getting their reading, writing and maths under control. We now have many of the schools involved where the kids are performing at above national minimum standards. So that is really good news and the budget provided an additional $250 million to make sure we continue that national partnership.

Of course the budget also included the schoolkids bonus. Here, as I am asked about the schoolkids bonus, I have to reflect on the pressures that families face when they want to get their kids off to school and they have those extra expenses coming. Let us just take an eligible family—a typical family with two kids, maybe one is in primary school and one in high school. They can expect over the course of the year just over $1,200 in support from the schoolkids bonus for the pair of runners that are looking a bit tatty, or maybe it is a new backpack or some stationery needs. It is particularly important that parents are given the opportunity to manage their budgets in this way, because they understand the kind of education costs that they are facing for their kids that have to be met.

In Hindmarsh, about 5,500 families will benefit from the schoolkids bonus. Across South Australia about 96,500 families will benefit from that schoolkids bonus. The only person who led the charge of 'no' against the schoolkids bonus was the opposition leader, who seems to be hard-wired for negativity. So opposed to the idea of parents getting a schoolkids bonus was he that he claimed that the money would be spent on poker machines. I think that says more about the Leader of the Opposition than it does about families around Australia, who know the education needs they face and know that this government is doing something to meet them.

Ms Gillard: I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.