The Hidden Budget Nasty

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The hidden budget nasty


Lily – GetUp!

6:33 PM (10 minutes ago)

to me

Every parent knows that feeling of relief when their child turns 6, because the work of a parent is over. Little Timmy or Susie are ready to go out into the world, earn their keep, and make their family proud. Or does that sound wrong to you?

Because the Abbott Government is trying to ram legislation through the Senate next week that would cut off family tax benefits for low and middle-income families when their youngest turns 6 — with more than a decade of clothes, books and food to buy (and man, can they eat).

This hidden budget nasty hasn’t got a tonne of attention, but will have a devastating impact on over 700,000 Australian families1. Labor and the Greens are dead set against the change, so it’ll all come down to the senate crossbench next week and it’s very unclear where they all stand.

But there’s one thing we do know: when GetUp members have contacted their senators on this unpopular budget, they’ve listened. Letting them know right now that this matters to their voters could make all the difference.

Click here to email your senator today and let them know that the job of a parent doesn’t stop at 6, so neither should Family Tax Benefit B

How do we know how important family tax benefits are to working low-income families? Because GetUp members have already stepped up to tell their senators, in submissions to a committee reviewing the legislation.

Here’s what Kat from Queensland told the committee: “the Family Tax Benefit B represents around 12% of my total weekly budget/income. The impact of removing this single piece of financial assistance will hit my family very hard. Kids don’t stop eating and growing once they turn 6.”

Plus, the numbers don’t lie: the loss of Family Tax Benefit Part B would cost families about $3000 a year.2 And the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) have shown that these tax benefit cuts will fall hardest on the poorest families.3

Due to overwhelming opposition, the Abbott Government was forced to break their social services legislation into pieces. But since then, the family tax benefit legislation has been rushed through the House without any debate, in a cynical attempt to keep the senators in the dark on the damaging impacts it will have on Australian families.

Undecided politicians? A critical vote just days a way? It’s a moment built for the magic that GetUp members bring to politics. Can you take a few minutes to tell your senator about how important it is to retain this family benefit, and not to slug working families with an unjustified tax increase?

Thanks for all you do,
Lily, Mark, Nat, and Georgina, for the GetUp team

[1] Community Affairs Senate Committee, Report on Social Services 2014 Budget Measures, page 52.
[2] ‘How the budget pain is unfairly shared’, Sydney Morning Herald, 18 May 2014.
[3] Index of major social security measures in Federal Budget bills, ACOSS, June 2014; Michelle Grattan, ‘Low earners do most in budget lifting, says NATSEM modelling’, The Conversation, 20 May 2014.

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