May 2012 The Government has announced that 1.3 million Australian families with children at school will get a new cash payment to help make ends meet.
Each year, families will receive a new Schoolkids Bonus worth:
$410 for each child in primary school
$820 for each child in high school
This new guaranteed payment will help the families of 2.2 million school kids pay for uniforms, books, school excursions, stationery, and other costs like music lessons and sports registration fees.
Because the payment is automatic and upfront, it means:
- Parents don’t need to keep receipts for months and months – it’s a guaranteed payment.
- Parents will receive the full amount every time, so families won’t miss out if they lose receipts.
- Parents don’t have to pay out of their own pocket, then wait months to get paid back - the payment will be paid upfront, twice a year, before the start of Term 1 and Term 3.
- No paperwork is required.
This initiative was, however, criticised by the Opposition. “Designed to distract from the carbon tax hit to cost of living, which will go up and up every year, this new policy has abandoned any pretence of being about offsetting education costs,” said Christopher Pyne, Shadow Minister for Education.
The payment will replace the Education Tax Refund from 1 January 2013. Under the existing system, 1 million families aren’t claiming what they’re entitled to – either claiming less than the full amount, or claiming nothing at all. That’s 80% of eligible families.
Just like the Education Tax Refund, the Schoolkids Bonus will be available to families receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A plus young people in school receiving Youth Allowance and some other income support and veterans’ payments.
As part of the transition to the new Schoolkids Bonus, the Education Tax Refund for 2011-12 will be paid out in full to all eligible families as a lump sum payment in June.
This means families will receive their full Education Tax Refund entitlement ahead of tax time – so parents won’t have to worry about keeping receipts or making claims when they do their tax this year.
The Gillard Government is delivering a surplus with targeted and responsible savings while staying true to the things we have always stood for like helping low and middle income families to make ends meet.
From information provided by the Prime Minister, May 6, 2012.
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