Breaking - Family Tax Benefit supplements saved but what now for child care benefits?









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Family Tax Benefit supplements saved

...but what now for child care benefits?



By Jason Bryce | 14 February 2017




Child Care concerns - Photo source: Bigstock.com

This is a victory

...for the true believers


"This morning, I'm damn good!" exclaimed Terese Edwards from the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children when we asked her the standard "How ya going?" this morning.

Nick Xenephon had just been on ABC Radio to announce that his three senators will block the Turnbull government's watered down Omnibus Bill completely. The bill would axe Family Tax Benefit end of year supplements completely to pay for increased funding for child care benefits. And also new spending required by the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the treasurer Scott Morrison belatedly added yesterday.

Mr Xenephon labelled the bill "dumb policy and even dumber politics."

Last night Tasmanian senator Jacquie Lambie told the ABC's QandA program that: "I can tell you what they can go and do with their omnibus, they can stick it where it fits."

This was a philosophical fight said Terese.

Nick Xenophon, leader of the Nick Xenophon Team political party
Nick Xenophon - "dumb policy
and even dumber politics""

"These Family Tax Benefit arrangements date back to Bob Hawke's pledge to end child poverty in Australia [made in 1987].

"They had enjoyed bi-partisan support ever since so it was just really smelly that a government should now try to end that."

Single mothers groups, the welfare lobby, Labor and The Greens had all stood rock solid in opposition to FTB cuts since 2014. A first Omnibus Bill passed the parliament last year that stripped away Schoolkids Bonus and FTB Part B from partnered families with teenagers and delivered $3 billion in budget savings to the government. This second bill promised to cut even harder.

The campaign to defeat these cuts to Family Tax Benefits has lasted three years and has seen off four separate pieces of legislation said Terese.

"The first two bills had a huge sting in the tail for single mothers, especially families with teenagers."

"The third bill tied the cuts to increased funding for childcare," said Terese, "And again the biggest losers would have been families with teenagers who don't benefit from child care reforms."

Terese Edwards from the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children
Terese Edwards from the NCSMC

"Number four watered down the cuts and grandfathered existing recipients and added some money to FTB part A but still hit teenagers."

"Senators told me they were bombarded with calls and emails from mothers telling their stories of how their family would suffer if this went through," said terese.

"And these are people with limited phone credit and internet data, so people really put in for this campaign."

Th biggest win for families is the retention of the end of year supplements. That is up to $726 per child in FTB Part A and $356 per family in FTB Part B.

"Struggling families factor in the supplements to their budgets," said Terese,

"It may be the only time they have money for car registration, repairs, appliances or school expenses."

But what about the much needed child care reforms?

The government wants to take the $7,500 annual cap off child care benefits and combine the child care rebate and benefit into one streamlined payment to parents. That plan was also contained in this Omnibus Bill.

Sam Page, the chief executive of Early Childhood Australia and a single mum with three kids, told SingleMum.com.au that she hopes the child care elements of the proposed new law may still go ahead.

"We don't understand why the government put the child care package into the Omnibus Bill and linked it to savings in other areas."

But there is hope for the child care reforms said Sam.

Sam Page, CEO of Early Childhood Australia hopes the child care elements of the proposed new law may still go ahead - Photo source: Bigstock.com
Sam Page, CEO of ECA hopes the child care elements of the proposed new law may still go ahead

"I have just been reminded this morning that the child care package is still listed as a separate bill in its own right, so I don't know why it was connected to those other changes."

"My understanding is there is support [in parliament] for the childcare package and the objections to the bill are with the other components of it, particularly the welfare changes.

"We have argued that the childcare package should be considered on its own merits," said Sam.

"It pays for itself through increased workforce participation so it really deserves to be treated on its own and we have said that from the beginning."

So what does Sam make of this defeat of the Omnibus Bill?

"The government's political strategy has been perplexing, the investment we make in early childhood learning should be seen as an investment in the education of our children."

"The benefits our children get out of early learning should be considered in their own right, not as a welfare spend."

Jason Bryce
Business & Finance Journalist





Further Australian Single Parent reading


Read the article..

Centrelink Family Tax Benefits update
Jason Bryce | 9 February 2017

A concerted and determined three year campaign from single mums, the welfare lobby, the Greens, unions and Labor has saved the heart of Family Tax Benefits... more...


Read the article..

Centrelink debt - 5 ways to avoid being branded a welfare cheat
Jason Bryce | 3 February 2017

Single parents targeted by Centrelinks robo-debt - here are five ways to avoid being branded a welfare cheat... more...




Have your say on this story - how do you feel about the defeat of the Omnibus Bill? Would child care changes affect you? Comment below!



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Jason is a business and finance journalist with 20 years experience, and is also a member of the SingleMum.com.au Expert Opinion Panel. He has a regular weekly column in the Sunday Mail (Brisbane) and writes regularly for the Business Daily section of the Herald Sun in Melbourne and many other newspapers and magazines. Read Jason Bryce's full profile here




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What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the

kids

are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.

Centrelink

plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a

divorce

or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

Please remember the bigger font words,because we will use it often in our website.