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A helping hand for families: one million people access Family Assistance at Medicare offices.

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Media Release

A helping hand for families One million people access Family Assistance at Medicare offices

29 January 2008

Human Services Minister, Senator Joe Ludwig today announced that more than one million people have now accessed Family Assistance services through Medicare Australia’s network of offices.

Senator Ludwig marked this milestone at the official launch of the recently relocated Ashmore Medicare office in Queensland. “Given that the roll out of extended Family Assistance services in Medicare offices started in July 2005, this is a fantastic achievement,” he said.

Family Assistance aims to give Australian families better access to a range of government payments and services, including:

• Family Tax Benefit (Part A) - provides help with the cost of raising children

• Family Tax Benefit (Part B) - provides extra help for families with one main income,

including sole parents

• Child Care Benefit - helps with the cost of child care

• Baby Bonus - helps with the extra cost of a new baby

• Maternity Immunisation Allowance - a separate payment for children who have been fully

immunised or who have an exemption from immunisation.

“The results have been very positive, in terms of the level of friendly service Medicare staff provide,” Senator Ludwig said. “It’s just one of the many ways Medicare Australia is making life easier for people in these busy times.”

Family Assistance is among the many services available at Medicare offices across Australia. People can also enrol in Medicare, claim rebates, request a Medicare tax statement, update their Medicare details, sign up to the Australian Organ Donor Register and obtain information about the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.

Senator Ludwig said the relocated Ashmore Medicare office has expanded to better meet the needs of the local community.

“With this modern new Medicare office, the residents of Ashmore can now access the range of services with the comforts of sit-down waiting areas, sit-down service counters and an electronic queue system,” Senator Ludwig added.

Media Contact: Barb Barrett —0448 469 787.