FAMILIES seem to be the big winners in the federal budget to be handed down tomorrow.
A bonus for families with children in school and a massive financial aid to cut public dental waiting lists have been included in the budget, which is predicted to generate a modest surplus for the 2012-13 financial year.
The new school bonus system will see about one million people – those entitled to Family Tax Benefit A and who currently miss out on full or part education entitlements – receive what they are eligible for. A typical family will receive about $700 more
than they were entitled to under the tax refund scheme.
The direct cash payments are being introduced after more than 600,000 eligible families failed to claim $300 million in rebates.
Under the means-tested SchoolKids Bonus policy, parents will receive $820 a year for each teenager they have at high school. Families will get $410 for every child in primary school. The government will also issue back payments for the past financial year in a one-off bonus.
The payments are expected to cost the budget an extra $2 billion over five years.
Provided parliament approves the measure, the first payment will be made in mid-June. Thereafter, payments will be made biannually in January and July.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has defended the revamped payments to parents with school children, saying that under the existing education tax refund one million people missed out on the entitlement either in part or in full. She said the new system was a better way of getting the money in the hands of eligible parents.
In tomorrow’s budget, the federal government will also announce more than $500 million to cut public dental waiting lists. The budget will include a $515.3 million dentistry package, $345.9 million of which will be directed at treating patients on waiting lists over the next three years, and providing vital services for around 400,000 adults.
Services in the bush will be strengthened by a new grants program to encourage and help dentists relocate to regional, rural and remote areas, at a cost of $77.7 million over four years.
Small businesses have also not been forgotten in the federal budget, which will see the introduction of “loss carry-backs” for business – where a company applies operating losses to a preceding year’s income to reduce tax liabilities.
From July 1, 2012, businesses will be able to carry back up to $1 million of losses to get a refund of tax paid in the previous year. From July 1, 2013, companies will be able to carry back losses against tax paid up to two years earlier.
These measures will surely be welcomed by families around Australia already struggling in the tough economic climate.