From today, the Gillard Government will introduce a number of measures to ease cost of living pressures on local families, recognising not everyone is seeing the benefits of a strong economy.
Federal Member for Chifley, Ed Husic said a range of initiatives will come into effect on July 1 that will help ease the burden for families, for pensioners, for individuals on low incomes, and for parents that have a child with a disability.
“These changes when added together, will put a little more money in the pockets of millions of Australians to help them meet their day to day expenses,” said Mr Husic.
The Government is introducing these new measures while ensuring we return the Budget to surplus by 2012-13, showing our commitment to providing support to Australian families.
Pensioners Work Bonus
From today, age pensioners who are still in the workforce will benefit from an improved Work Bonus and be able to earn up to $250 per fortnight above the income threshold before their pension is affected. Pensioners with seasonal work will be able to accrue up to $6,500 in credit for any unused amount of the $250 fortnightly exemption.
Education Tax Refund extension
11,210 primary students and 9,960 secondary students in Chifley already benefit from Labor’s 50% Education Tax Refund, and from 1 July 2011 the number of things they can claim will expand to include school uniforms.
Child Care Rebate changes
The Child Care Rebate pays up to 50 per cent of a family’s out-of-pocket expenses for child care up to an annual cap. From today, families will be able to choose to have their Rebate paid at the time they incur child care costs, usually fortnightly or weekly.
Families will also be able to choose to have their Child Care Rebate paid directly to their child care service provider for an immediate reduction on their bills, or continue to receive the Rebate as a direct payment to their bank account.
Continuation of incentives to improve access to after-hours care
The Government will provide $49.9 million over two years from 2010-11 to extend incentives to general practices to support after-hours care. This funding, which had been due to terminate today, will now be extended until 1 July 2013 and will reduce pressure on emergency departments.
More flexible advance payments
From today, families will have access to more flexible advance payments of Family Tax Benefit Part A. This will mean families facing unexpected costs – such as the family car breaking down – will have quick and easy access to advance payments and will not have to resort to high-interest loans or credit cards. Families will be able to access a maximum of 7.5 per cent of their total rate of FTB Part A payment, up to $1,000.
Early intervention for children with disability
From today, eligible families will have access to early intervention services for children with a disability through grants of up to $12,000 per family ($6,000 per financial year).
A one-off tax exempt payment of $2,000 will also be available for families with disabled children living in outer-regional, rural and remote areas to help meet the additional costs of accessing services.
Low Income Tax Offset brought forward
The Government will deliver up to an extra $300 of the low income tax offset (LITO) assistance during the year in regular pay packets from today. This change is expected to provide around 6.5 million taxpayers with more immediate and direct rewards to work.