BALLARAT parents of school students will soon find themselves with a little extra money in their pockets.
The federal government’s SchoolKids Bonus started its roll-out yesterday, with Ballarat MP Catherine King spruiking the benefits to families.
Days before the introduction of the controversial carbon tax, Ms King said more than 9500 Ballarat and region families would benefit from the cash bonus.
Each year, eligible local families will receive $409 for each primary school student and $818 for every high school student.
“The Gillard government knows how tough it can be for parents with kids at school and that is why we are delivering this new bonus to help families make ends meet,” Ms King said.
The SchoolKids Bonus will be paid in two instalments – before the start of term one and term three – to help pay for school costs such as uniforms, text books, stationary and school excursions.
It will replace the Education Tax Refund from January 1, 2013.
Ballarat mother of three Tanya Wilkie said the payment bonus would come as a huge help.
Her three daughters, aged 6, 8 and 11, all attend St Columba’s Primary School.
“Everything is so expensive these days so every little bit helps, especially with private school fees,” she said.
“(For) the average person, it all adds up to make a big cost.
“It will be a big help to a lot of families. It is a big relief.”
Ms King said the SchoolKids Bonus meant that parents would receive extra support when they needed it more.
“They will no longer have to pay first and then wait months to claim a refund at tax time,” she said.
“The government has confidence in the ability of Australian families to spend the funds responsibly in the interests of their children at school.”