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Transcript of interview with Kim Landers: ABC AM: 23 March 2017: Malcolm Turnbull's freeze to Family Tax Benefit payment rates, 1.5 million Australian families worse off, Child Care changes



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THE HON. JENNY MACKLIN MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES MEMBER FOR JAGAJAGA

E&OE TRANSCRIPT RADIO INTERVIEW ABC AM THURSDAY, 23 MARCH 2017

SUBJECT/S: Malcolm Turnbull’s freeze to Family Tax Benefit payment rates, 1.5 million Australian families worse off, Child Care changes.

KIM LANDERS: Jenny Macklin is the Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services, she joins me from our Parliament House studio in Canberra. Jenny Macklin good morning.

JENNY MACKLIN, SHADOW MINISTER FOR FAMILIES & SOCIAL SERVICES: Good morning Kim.

LANDERS: Given the child care package has to be paid for in some way, isn’t the freezing of family tax benefit the ‘least worst option’ as Nick Xenophon says?

MACKLIN: No, I don’t agree with that. It will mean around 1.5 million families will be worse off as a result of this cut. The Government can’t have it both ways. The Government says that the money that they’re taking from this freeze of family tax benefit will pay for child care. That means that the money is coming out of the pockets of families. Around 600,000 of those families earn less than $52,000 a year - that’s family income. These are very low income families who are not going to see their family tax benefit increase with the cost of living. That means families are going to be worse off.

LANDERS: These changes though have been passed with the Senate, they’re set up to support the child care reforms. Will Labor now support the child care reforms?

MACKLIN: Well of course Kate Ellis our Early Childhood Education spokesperson over the last two years has been campaigning around some of the very serious flaws in the Government’s child care changes. We, for example, don’t want to see little children, especially from very disadvantaged families, lose access to early childhood education. So Kate Ellis last night has written to the Minister responsible indicating that there are these very important areas that Labor would like to see improved. We do want to see children who need access to early childhood education get at least two days of that care, but we also want to make sure that Indigenous services and mobile services in regional areas are improved.

LANDERS: Pauline Hanson says the Labor Party are a bunch of hypocrites because she is claiming that Labor once froze indexation, or wanted to freeze indexation.

MACKLIN: We did for those right at the top of the family tax benefit system and we introduced a means test for family tax benefit part B at $150,000. That’s very different from freezing the rates of family tax benefit parts A and B for those on the lowest incomes. As Jacquie Lambie said, this will affect families, including single parent families on the lowest incomes. Just to give you an example of one family, a middle income family on around $60,000 a year, a single parent with two teenagers, they will lose $540 over the next two years. So this is a cut to those families, those families who depend on family tax benefit to pay their bills will be worse off.

LANDERS: But this is something that was negotiated with the cross bench. So how can you criticise that when Labor wasn’t willing to negotiate?

MACKLIN: Well Labor made it clear that there are two areas that we think the Government should go to for improvements to their Budget. We think there should be changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax. We don’t think that system is fair. That would be a much better way to help pay for child care and do budget repair, and improve housing affordability for that matter. That’s a much fairer way to go than really hitting families that depend on family tax benefit.

LANDERS: Do you expect the Government to persist with the other cuts in its Omnibus Bill?

MACKLIN: Well I think that’s a very, very important question. We’ve been calling on the Government to take those very cruel cuts out of the Budget and out of the Parliament. Mind you, this measure that the Government forced through the Senate last night was originally a 2014 Budget cut from Tony Abbott that Mr Turnbull actually took it out of the Budget at the end of 2015, now he’s put it back in. So you certainly can’t trust him.

LANDERS: Alright, Jenny Macklin thank you very much for speaking with AM.

MACKLIN: Thank you.

ENDS

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