FTB changes- NFAW Statement

The National Foundation for Australian Women is profoundly concerned by revised proposals by the Government to substantially cut access to Family Tax Benefits Parts A and B. The cuts will produce hardship for low income families, especially single parent families.

They further confuse and complicate the system of family payments, rather than simplifying. They are not likely to have any positive impact on female work-force attachment. They will hit hard in identifiable regions with high concentrations of low incomes families and lack of employment opportunities – outer suburban areas of capital cities, and the regions. (Electorates with the lowest rates of families claiming FTB and so less likely to be impacted include Wentworth and Curtin.)

Hypothetically, it is suggested that losses in family payments will be offset by access to cheaper child care. A parent of a 13 year old won’t be getting much out of that switch.
The changes will penalise those sole parents who are already in employment – for each $ earned there is a $ loss in FTB.

For the households where the parent, or parents are already working, the changes won’t produce additional workforce participation.

These proposed changes are an attempt to make the lowest income families repair the Budget at a time when overall outlays on family benefits are in steady decline. It is completely untrue that Social Security payments for families are rising unsustainably.

NFAW agrees with ACoSS – there is a need to change FTB – but that should have a focus on adequacy and the alleviation of child poverty, not just achieving savings. The Government’s proposals undermine our confidence in anything else proposed in the name of welfare reform. It is worth remembering in the context of current talk of changes to the tax mix and the need for compensation that the current structures being gutted were introduced by the Howard Government as compensation for the introduction of the GST.

NFAW urges Senators to reject the changes once the new Bill is tabled.

NFAW notes that the Senate Community Affairs Committee report on the previous Bill is due to be tabled on Monday 30 November. This alone will be a cause for confusion as the as yet unseen untabled Bill is considered.

30 November 2015
For further comment: Marie Coleman AO PSM, Chair, NFAW Social Policy Committee 0414483068

Download the media release here – FTB changes November 2015