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Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Page: 5008


Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (14:51): My question is to the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform. How is the government's budget helping Australian families make ends meet? What would be the impact of withdrawing this support?

Ms MACKLIN (JagajagaMinister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Minister for Disability Reform) (14:52): I thank the member for Blair very much for his question and for all the work that he does for the people in his electorate, in the Ipswich area. I was very pleased to be with him in Ipswich late last week to meet with people with disability, people providing services to those with disability and their families and carers and to especially talk to them about the government's plans to introduce a national disability insurance scheme. We certainly are getting on with that job, and I appreciate the way in which the member for Blair and the people in Ipswich were so supportive of the government's moves.

For the information of the people of Blair, from 20 June around 11,000 families will start to receive the schoolkids bonus, and of course that will mean that people who need a helping hand will get it with their education costs. One of the important things for that area is that that will mean not only that those thousands and thousands of families are going to get that extra bit of help but also that the newsagents, the clothing shops and those places that sell shoes and all the things that kids need will see a boost to the local economy. We expect around $11 million to be spent in the member for Blair's electorate, and that certainly will help those retailers as well as those families. This will be the case right around the country as we see parents get this extra help for all the things that their children need. We expect around one million families will get extra money.

I have had quite a lot of correspondence from families around the country, one parent saying that he applauds 'the new schoolkids bonus—a lot less paperwork, always a good thing.' Of course, we know that did not stop the opposition from saying no. It does not matter what the public thinks, the opposition just say no. Parents say they want this schoolkids bonus; the opposition say no. The opposition say that they do not trust parents. Parents have found this deeply insulting. I heard from another mother recently, and she knows exactly how she will be spending this money. She is going to spend it on a new school uniform for her child—'Something,' as she said to me, 'I had to put off due to struggling financially.' Of course, that is something that those opposite do not understand at all. This government is determined to do everything it can to help parents and to make sure it supports them. All those opposite can do is say no and make it plain that they intend to claw back this assistance from families.