The Gillard Government is delivering on its election commitments to assist new parents with the upfront costs of having a baby and helping families with budget pressures.
For eligible babies born from today, families will receive $500 more of their Baby Bonus payment upfront to help pay for costs such as buying a pram and setting up a bedroom.
This brings the first instalment of the Baby Bonus to almost $880. The total amount of the Baby Bonus will remain the same plus indexation, and the 12 subsequent payments will help parents meet ongoing costs during the baby’s first six months.
ACT Labor federal representatives, Senator Kate Lundy, Gai Brodtmann MP and Andrew Leigh MP, said Australian families could choose between Paid Parental Leave and the Baby Bonus, depending on their eligibility and individual circumstances.
“We are committed to supporting families meet the costs of raising children so they are healthy, safe and happy, to give them the best start in life,” Ms Brodtmann said.
The Government is also helping families cope with pressures on their household budget from unexpected expenses.
“From today, 14,350 families in the ACT who receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A will be able to access more flexible advance payments, giving them more options to choose the amount and timing of advance payments,” Senator Lundy said.
“Families facing unforeseen costs, such as the family car breaking down, will now have easier access to family payment advances when they need them,” Dr Leigh said.
Families will be able to advance a maximum of 7.5 per cent of the total rate of their FTB Part A payment, up to $1000. All families applying for advances will be assessed to ensure they are able to repay the advance without falling into financial hardship.
Before the new changes, the maximum advance amount was fixed at around $330 every six months and families were only able to get an advance twice a year – on 1 July and 1 January. This meant that families did not have the flexibility to request advances when they actually needed them.
For more information on the July 1 changes visit www.fahcsia.gov.au.