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Thursday, 25 June 2009
Page: 4378

Senator SIEWERT (5:43 PM) —As set out at Greens amendment (2) on sheet 5840, the Greens opposes schedule 14 in the following terms:

(2)           Schedule 14, page 117 (lines 1 to 16), Schedule TO BE OPPOSED.

Schedule 14 relates to the indexation of family tax benefit. We seek to oppose this schedule. This schedule effectively freezes family tax benefit, which will result in a real decrease in the amount of money going to single parents. I covered this in my comments in the second reading debate. We are opposing this because it effectively freezes the family tax benefit for the highest maximum rate, which means that those on very low incomes—in particular, sole parents—will effectively have a decrease in real terms. It saves the government a substantial amount of money, and that money of course comes from those families who are the most vulnerable in our community and can least afford it.

We do not believe it is a measure that supports the government’s claim to be socially inclusive. We think it will substantially affect single income families and low income families. We think this is the second hit that single parent families take through this bill. The first one, of course, is not getting an increase, which we discussed earlier. This one means that they are going to take a substantive cut in real terms. We think the government needs to rethink it and take this schedule of the bill out.