Cheat Sheet – What the Federal Budget Means For Parents

11 May

Mention the words ‘Federal Budget’ and most people’s eyes glaze over – mostly because it’s so hard to get a handle on how it’s going to affect your hip pocket. I’ve read a bit about the budget today – and found the following summary from the Essential Baby website to be the most useful for parents. Mum Plus More is a non-political site, so I have removed the parts that I consider ‘commentary’ but you can read the full article here. Also, check out the following sites for more info
Centrelink
Australian Tax Office
Family Assist Office
Workforce Participation
Teenage Parents – furthering study: The government is keen to increase the skills of teenage parents and is providing $80 million for additional training places. This does, of course, come with a catch and parents will be expected to meet stricter work or training requirements in order to maintain their parenting payments. Teenage parents will be required to return to school and complete year 12 after their child turns one and the government will spend $47 million trialling this new initiative.
Single Parents – increasing workforce participation: The government also wants to encourage single parents back into the workforce and is providing $103 million to help single parents prepare for work when their youngest child starts school. They will also overhaul the income test for single parents so that parents can earn more income before their parenting benefits are cut back.
Dependent spouses – reducing tax offset: Also to encourage workforce participation, the government is phasing out the Dependent Spouse Tax Offset from 1st July, starting with couples aged under forty (where a dependent spouse was born on or after 1st July 1971) . The Dependent Spouse Tax Offset is currently an amount of up to $2,243 per annum.
Childcare rebate changes – frequency of payment: The government will give eligible parents the opportunity to claim their childcare rebate weekly or fortnightly, rather than quarterly, easing the upfront cost of childcare. You can find out more information on the human services website.

Education
Bonuses for teachers – The budget allowed for $425 million to reward high performing teachers in the form of bonuses, from 2014 onwards.
Parents of teenagers – additional FTB: From January 1st, 2012 the government is also extending Family Tax Benefit Part A (at a cost of $772 million) to teenagers up to nineteen years old who are in school or vocational training programs. That is potentially up to an extra $4200 a year for each eligible teenager.
Education tax refund additions – The education tax refund is being extended to cover school uniforms. Check your eligibility on the education tax refund website.
Reduction in HECS discount – A savings measure that was announced prior to the budget is the halving of the 20% discount in university fees that students receive if they pay upfront. You can find out more information on the Going to Uni website.
Equal opportunities – $200 million has been allocated to support disabled school students
School chaplains – $222 million has been allocated to extend National School Chaplaincy program

Family tax benefitFTB(A) Payment Advances – The government will allow parents to access payment advances of up to $1,000 on their Family Tax Benefit Part A to meet unexpected family expenses.
Extending the freeze – As a cost-cutting measure though, the government has extended the freeze on the higher income limits for family payments for three more years (to July 2014). This freeze affects payments such as Family Tax Benefit and paid parental leave.
Pausing indexation – The government is also pausing indexation of Family Tax Benefit supplements (which are normally indexed at CPI rate) for two years.
Reduction of Family Tax Benefit cutoff – The government has decided to limit the eligibility for Family Tax Benefit Part A to children up to the age of 21, a reduction from age 24, with an estimated saving of $29 million over four years.

Paid paternity leave
The Federal Goverment paid paternity leave program is being postponed from 1 July to 1 January, saving the Commonwealth $147 million in the short-term. The paternity leave program scheme offered new father’s the chance to receive two weeks paid leave at the national minimum wage.

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One Response to “Cheat Sheet – What the Federal Budget Means For Parents”

  1. Anonymous May 11, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    sorry..i think my eyes glazed over for a minute there…

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