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 11 FAMILY ASSISTANCE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (EXTENSION OF TIME LIMITS) BILL 2003

The order of the day having been read for the resumption of the debate on the question—That the Bill be now read a second time—

Debate resumed by Mr Swan who moved, as an amendment—That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: "whilst not declining to give the Bill a second reading, the House:

(1) condemns the Government's failure to comprehensively reform its flawed system of family assistance, which has so far resulted in one in three families receiving FTB and CCB accumulating debts in excess of $1.2 billion;

(2) urges the Government to immediately close loopholes such as share market margin lending losses and foreign income reporting which have allowed wealthy families to pocket benefits;

(3) recognises the importance of annual tax returns for family budgeting and opposes the automatic stripping of family tax returns without warning to recoup family assistance debts;

(4) notes that the proposed two year time limit for past period claims of family assistance is still at odds with tax law which allows adjustments and subsequent claims to be made for up to four years; and

(5) calls on the Government to reform family assistance to improve incentives to work and ensure benefits may properly account for changes in family income without the risk of families accruing an unavoidable debt".

Debate continued.

Mr Sidebottom addressing the House—