Baby Bonus changes pass Parliament
The Australian Government’s changes to the family payments system have passed the Senate with the support of the Opposition.
These amendments to the Family Assistance and Other Legislation Bill deliver the following reforms:
- Changes to the Baby Bonus from 1 July 2013 to reduce the amount to $3,000 for second and subsequent children (these changes were announced in the 2012-13 Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook);
- Abolishing the Baby Bonus from 1 March 2014, and introducing new family payment arrangements for low and middle income families with newborns; and
- changes to the Paid Parental Leave scheme ‘work test’ to make it easier for working mothers with children born close together to qualify for Paid Parental Leave for subsequent children.
From 1 March 2014, families eligible for FTB Part A will receive an additional loading on their family payments when they have a new baby to help with upfront costs (if they are not accessing the Government’s Paid Parental Leave scheme).
The extra FTB Part A payments for families will total $2,000 for their first child (and all multiple births) and $1,000 for subsequent children. It will be paid as an initial instalment of $500, with the rest rolled into normal fortnightly payments over a three month period.
These new arrangements more closely reflect the essential upfront costs of having a baby and better target assistance now that Australia has a national paid parental leave scheme.