Family tax benefit cuts discriminate against children with two parents

Woman tallying accountsCouple-parent families, especially those on low incomes, will bear the burden of Labor’s decision to support some of the Government cuts to Family Tax Benefit Part B (FTB B).

The Chief Executive of Catholic Social Services Australia, Marcelle Mogg, said the Coalition and Labor should not be taking FTB B from low and middle income families with school age children.

“Cuts to FTB B should not discriminate against children who have two parents with a single income, in favour of sole parent families or grandparent carers,” said Ms Mogg.

“The issue here is children living in poverty. Whether the child has one or two parents should not be the basis for discrimination. We must support low income families if we are to secure a better future for their children.

“The cuts mean single breadwinner families with the youngest child aged 13 years or older would be worse off by more than $54 a week.

“FTB B helps parents make an effective choice as to how they will balance work and family responsibilities. Low income families now have no choice as to how they care for their children. The proposed legislation would place economic pressure on couple parent families to abandon plans to have one of them stay at home to care for their children.

“The legislation further assumes that there are jobs immediately available for parents returning to the workforce. Many parents returning to work are likely to find that the only employment available to them is on low rates of pay, with unsociable work hours, further compromising family life.

“Keeping children at school and enabling families to manage their lives and make good choices is worth far more in human and economic terms than the relatively few dollars saved in the short term.

“The Government and Opposition should ensure parents who now have to return to work have support and training available to them, to help them find scarce jobs.

“These changes significantly limit the capacity of low income families to secure a better future for their children. Children need more than a household income, they need their parents present, helping them to negotiate their way through school and guide them through the teenage years.

“Family life should never be the preserve of the affluent.”