The Morrison Government will introduce a Bill to boost support for more than 2000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with children who need to live away from home to access secondary school.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said families whose children go to boarding school and are supported by ABSTUDY would now receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB) payments until their children finish secondary schooling under the changes.
The current eligibility criteria means families stop getting FTB for ABSTUDY boarding students when students turn 16 years of age.
“This Bill extends FTB to Indigenous families until students complete Year 12 and will help close the gap in educational attainment. This change will commence on 1 January 2020,” Minister Ruston said.
This $36.4 million investment builds on the ABSTUDY reforms the Government started in the 2018-19 Budget by helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families with the cost of accessing the best educational opportunities.
“On average, each eligible family will receive an extra $5900 per year giving them more support to pay for their children’s essential living costs,” Minister Ruston said.
“Families rely on FTB to assist with the ongoing costs of their children’s daily incidentals while they are away at school such as clothing, toiletries, medicines and pocket money as well as their essential living costs when they are at home during school holidays.”
“The boost in financial support will help these students to complete school leading to better employment prospects.”
“The Morrison Government is backing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to get the very best start in life through a successful education.”
The Government’s Closing the Gap target is to halve the gap for Year 12 completion by 2020.