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No excuse for Macklin forgetting 200,000 families.



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NO EXCUSE FOR MACKLIN FORGETTING 200,000 FAMILIES Queensland Nationals Senator Ron Boswell today questioned how Families Minister Jenny Macklin could be unaware that 200,000 workers in not-for-profit groups and

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hospitals would be adversely affected by her own budget measures.

This follows media reports that 200,000 low income families in the community sector could lose up to $50 a week by changes to fringe benefits tax reporting. Yet the Minister told ABC Radio this morning "the Government was only recently made aware of the problem."

"Two weeks ago I asked questions on this exact issue in Senate Estimates and the

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Department acknowledged it, cited recent publicity and had even written letters to affected people, so how could the Minister not know of the effects of her own policy?"

"I am still waiting for the Department to answer my questions on how many working families will be affected by this and other budget changes to income definitions that affect eligibility for a range of Government support programs and assistance

delivered through the tax system.

"The fringe benefit tax reporting changes can be found in schedule 6 of the Minister's Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (2008 Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2008 debated in the House of Representatives two weeks ago."

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On the 29 May 2008, National Disability Services outlined in a media release that the organisation had ' written to the Federal Treasurer asking that not-for-profit service providers be exempt from a Budget measure that will diminish the attractiveness of

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salary packaging for disability support workers'. In questioning in the Senate today Senator Evans in representing the Minister for Families admitted that "there is no doubt that there are some consequences of this measure that are appearing that are going to hurt people quite seriously and the Minister has undertaken to discuss this with the various groups and try and work through the issues."

"This revelation must throw into question Minister Macklin's knowledge of her own portfolio. How could the Minister have overlooked this? What other measures has she overlooked? How many more working families are going to be hurt by unknown r measures in this budget?" Senator Boswell said.

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