Why we're making life a bit easier for parents
WEDNESDAY, 20/6/2012 Jenny Macklin
This morning, Wayne Swan and I walked to school with Elizabeth and Anthony and their kids, Liam and Lauren.
We had a coffee beforehand – and a chat about some of the things Elizabeth and Anthony have to buy to get their kids ready for school. We could have spent the whole day going through it all.
But mums and dads around the country certainly don’t have all day. In the flurry of getting ready for school in the morning, getting ready for work and piling kids and lunches out the door on time, parents have plenty on their plate.
Back to school is a term that worries parents around the country.
The lists arrive, crumpled into school bags, of books, pens, pencils, erasers, rulers and folders. And the older they get, the more complicated the lists seem to be – and the more expensive the bills at the check-out seem to get!
And that’s before you even get to the uniform shop.
And before the costs that pile up as the school year goes on – excursions, school camps, winter jumpers, summer hats. And shoes … do they shrink?
Over the years, the Education Tax Refund has helped a lot of families with these sorts of expenses. At tax time, families have been able to get a bit back of what they’ve spent on school costs.
But we know the refund wasn’t helping some families as much as it could have. In fact, about one million families weren’t claiming the money back, or weren’t claiming their full entitlement.
For a lot of people, it was just too hard to fork out the money for all the school costs, keep the receipts together over the year and wait months to get something back.
We wanted to make sure parents around the country can easily get the help they’re entitled to, so we’re delivering the Schoolkids Bonus.
Starting today families receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A fortnightly will start to receive this extra help in their bank accounts.
From next year, the Schoolkids Bonus will be paid at the start of Terms 1 and 3 – when the back to school costs hit the household budget. It will mean about $410 a year for each child in primary school, and $820 a year for each child in high school – right into family bank accounts.
In all, the Schoolkids Bonus will help 1.3 million families to pay for school expenses.
The Schoolkids Bonus means families don’t have to fill out the extra forms, they don’t have to collect all the receipts, and for most families, it means more money in their pocket.
I know it can be pretty hard to keep on top of everything when you’re trying to get the kids through school. And I know every bit helps.
That’s why I’m pleased that from today, we’ll be making life a bit easier for Elizabeth and Anthony, and thousands of other parents across the country.