Australian Government, 2006–07 Budget

Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Child Support Reforms

The Government will provide $877.0 million over five years (including $9.3 million in 2005-06) to make fundamental changes to the Child Support Scheme to ensure that it focuses on the needs and costs of children and places a greater emphasis on shared parental responsibility. The changes are expected to reduce conflict between parents about parenting arrangements and ensure that child support is paid in full and on time. The new arrangements build on the Government's reform of the family law system and will complement the commitment of $397.2 million over four years announced in the 2005-06 Budget to establish a network of Family Relationship Centres and related services in the community.

In changing the Scheme, the Government has accepted the major recommendations of the report of the Ministerial Taskforce on Child Support. This review was initiated in response to the House of Representatives Committee on Family and Community Affairs' report on child custody arrangements in the event of family separation (Every Picture Tells a Story, December 2003).

The major change to the Child Support Scheme is the introduction of a new formula from 1 July 2008 for calculating Child Support payments. The new formula will better reflect the costs of raising children, treats the respective income of parents equally, have greater regard to the costs of contact, and treat children from first and second families more equally.

The reforms will be introduced in three stages. From 1 July 2006, the minimum payment of child support will be increased, a transitional compliance strategy to minimise the risk of non-compliance will be implemented, a higher rate of payment to non-resident parents on Newstart and related payments with at least regular care will be paid and separating parents will be provided with access to Family Relationship Centres and related services.

From January 2007, a process of external administrative review of Child Support Agency decisions by the Social Security Appeals Tribunal will be introduced, an ongoing compliance strategy will be implemented and separating parents will be allowed more time to work out parenting arrangements before their Family Tax Benefit is affected.

From July 2008, the new Child Support formula will be introduced, which will see resident parents allowed to keep all of their Family Tax Benefit where a non-resident parent has care of their child for less than 35 per cent of nights in a year, children from first and second families treated more equally by taking into account the costs of children from the second family, the treatment of second jobs and overtime changed to assist with re-establishment costs and step-children (without other support) treated as dependants when calculating the child support liability of parents with financial responsibility for them.

The package includes $146.6 million over five years to improve service standards and undertake significant cultural change at the Child Support Agency (CSA). These organisational improvements are designed to improve the effectiveness of the CSA in the delivery of child support services during and beyond this period of significant system reform.

Table 7: Child Support Reforms
  2006-07
$m
2007-08
$m
2008-09
$m
2009-10
$m
Total
$m
EXPENSE MEASURES          
ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S          
Attorney-General's Department          
Child Support Reforms          
- Family Relationship Centres 9.2 13.2 15.2 8.1 45.7
Federal Magistrates Court          
Child Support Reforms          
- external review - 0.7 0.9 0.9 2.4
Sub Total 9.2 13.9 16.1 8.9 48.1
EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS          
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations          
Child Support Reforms          
- a new formula 2.5 2.4 2.4 2.5 9.8
Sub Total 2.5 2.4 2.4 2.5 9.8
FAMILIES, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS          
Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs          
Child Support Reforms          
- a new formula 2.6 21.0 169.8 171.6 364.9
- improving compliance -3.4 -9.7 -15.4 -21.3 -49.7
- aligning income definitions 0.1 0.1 -71.0 -73.2 -144.0
- external review 3.4 8.7 24.7 11.6 48.4
- Family Relationship Centres 0.7 0.6 0.7 0.7 2.8
- changes to the Family Tax Benefit maintenance arrangements 4.4 7.7 13.8 14.8 40.6
- communication strategy 5.1 6.1 1.6 0.2 13.0
Sub Total 12.9 34.4 124.2 104.5 276.0
HUMAN SERVICES          
Department of Human Services          
Child Support Reforms          
- a new formula 7.1 63.2 59.3 29.1 158.7
- improving compliance 30.0 52.9 39.1 39.5 161.5
- building a better Child Support Agency 36.7 35.8 38.7 33.7 144.8
- aligning income definitions - 0.4 0.4 0.4 1.2
- external review 1.3 0.9 2.4 1.2 5.8
- Family Relationship Centres 0.2 .. -0.2 -0.4 -0.4
- changes to the Family Tax Benefit maintenance arrangements 0.4 0.8 0.4 0.7 2.3
- communication strategy 4.1 17.7 0.2 - 22.0
Sub Total 79.8 171.7 140.3 104.2 496.0
TREASURY          
Australian Taxation Office          
Child Support Reforms          
- a new formula - - 9.7 10.2 20.0
- aligning income definitions - - -4.2 -4.4 -8.6
Child Support Reforms          
- changes to the Family Tax Benefit maintenance arrangements 0.2 0.5 0.9 0.9 2.5
Sub Total 0.2 0.5 6.4 6.8 13.9
VETERANS' AFFAIRS          
Department of Veterans' Affairs          
Child Support Reforms          
- aligning income definitions - 0.1 0.1 .. 0.2
Sub Total - 0.1 0.1 - 0.2
Total Expense measures 104.5 222.9 289.4 227.0 843.9
CAPITAL MEASURES          
ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S          
Attorney-General's Department          
Child Support Reforms          
- Family Relationship Centres 0.1 - - - 0.1
Federal Magistrates Court          
Child Support Reforms          
- external review - 0.2 - - 0.2
Sub Total 0.1 0.2 - - 0.3
HUMAN SERVICES          
Centrelink          
Child Support Reforms          
- a new formula - 7.8 - - 7.8
- communication strategy 0.1 - - - 0.1
Department of Human Services          
Child Support Reforms          
- a new formula 8.1 6.5 0.9 - 15.4
Sub Total 8.2 14.3 0.9 - 23.3
VETERANS' AFFAIRS          
Department of Veterans' Affairs          
Child Support Reforms          
- aligning income definitions - 0.1 .. - 0.1
Sub Total - 0.1 - - 0.1
Total Capital measures 8.2 14.6 0.9 - 23.8
SUMMARY OF EXPENDITURE          
Total expense measures

104.5 222.9 289.4 227.0 843.9
Total capital measures

8.2 14.6 0.9 - 23.8
Total expenditure 112.8 237.6 290.3 227 867.7
Total revenue measures

- - - - -
Net additional expenditure 112.8 237.6 290.3 227 867.7
Child Support Reforms — a new formula
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Human Services 7.1 63.2 59.3 29.1
Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 2.6 21.0 169.8 171.6
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 2.5 2.4 2.4 2.5
Australian Taxation Office - - 9.7 10.2
Total 12.1 86.5 241.2 213.4
Related capital ($m)
Department of Human Services 8.1 6.5 0.9 -
Centrelink - 7.8 - -
Total 8.1 14.3 0.9 -

The Government will provide $582.2 million over five years (including $5.6 million in 2005-06 and capital funding of $23.3 million) to introduce a new child support formula from 1 July 2008.

Under the new formula, child support payments will be based on costs of raising children and the combined taxable income of both parents will be taken into account after an amount has been allowed for self-support which will be the same for both parents and equal to one-third of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings.

Each parent's contribution to the cost of raising their children will be based on their share of combined income above the self-support amount, adjusted under the new formula to have greater regard to the costs incurred by non-resident parents where they care for the child 14 per cent or more of the nights of the year. Costs are taken to be equally shared when care is shared equally.

The new formula will treat the children of first and second families more equally by adjusting the self-support amount when determining child support for children in the first family for the costs of raising children in the second family. The self-support amount is currently adjusted by a flat amount which does not relate to the costs of second family children.

The new formula reduces the extent to which Family Tax Benefit will be split between parents, will provide non-resident parents with greater access to the 'with child' rate of income support payments, and takes greater account of the income from overtime and second jobs where this is used to help with re-establishment costs.

The minimum weekly rate of child support will be increased from $5 to $6 per week (from 1 July 2006) and will be set at $20 from 1 July 2008, in circumstances where parents not receiving income support payments report income lower than the Parenting Payment (single) maximum annual rate.

This measure includes funding of $174.0 million over four years for the Child Support Agency (including capital funding of $15.4 million) and $43.2 million over five years for Centrelink (including capital funding of $7.8 million) to implement the new formula and associated changes.

This measure forms part of the Government's response to the Ministerial Taskforce on Child Support. Further information can be found in the press release of 28 February 2006 issued by the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Child Support Reforms — improving compliance
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Human Services 30.0 52.9 39.1 39.5
Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs -3.4 -9.7 -15.4 -21.3
Total 26.6 43.2 23.8 18.3

The Government will provide $165.1 million over five years (including $0.7 million in 2005-06) to implement transitional and expanded ongoing compliance arrangements for the Child Support Scheme.

The transitional compliance strategy, which seeks to minimise the risk of non-compliance prior to implementation of the reforms, includes communication activities, responding to client queries and addressing cases of non-compliance with the current scheme.

The ongoing compliance strategy involves expansion of the tax return lodgement enforcement programme; increasing litigation to recover outstanding child support obligations; increasing the coverage of Departure Prohibition Orders; increasing investigation for the deliberate understatement of income; and enhancing the Child Support Agency's power to garnishee social security payments.

Funding for this measure includes $2.9 million for Centrelink through the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and $162.2 million for the Child Support Agency through the Department of Human Services. The changes are expected to increase Child Support payments by $463.6 million over four years from 2006-07, which will reduce Family Tax Benefit payments by $52.7 million over the same period.

This measure forms part of the Government's response to the Ministerial Taskforce on Child Support. Further information can be found in the press release of 28 February 2006 issued by the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Child Support Reforms — building a better Child Support Agency
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Human Services 36.7 35.8 38.7 33.7

The Government will provide $146.6 million over five years (including $1.7 million in 2005-06) for the Child Support Agency (CSA) to improve service standards and undertake significant organisational change.

The CSA will introduce five new regional service sites, increasing the total number of sites to 26 across Australia. The number of face-to-face interactions with parents will be increased by 20,000 to a total of 30,000 a year. In addition, online services will be expanded allowing parents to access information and self help tools at their convenience.

The number of client service teams will be increased and all CSA phone calls will be recorded to better monitor and improve the quality and consistency of information and services provided. All CSA staff will undergo intensive and ongoing training to improve their client service skills.

New communication programmes, designed to educate and inform parents to promote greater voluntary compliance with child support obligations, will be introduced. CSA letters, publications and forms will be reviewed, streamlined and rewritten to reduce parent confusion.

Child Support Reforms — aligning income definitions
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 0.1 0.1 -71.0 -73.2
Department of Human Services - 0.4 0.4 0.4
Department of Veterans' Affairs - 0.1 0.1 ..
Australian Taxation Office - - -4.2 -4.4
Total 0.1 0.6 -74.8 -77.1
Related capital ($m)
Department of Veterans' Affairs - 0.1 .. -

The Government will align the income definitions used to calculate Child Support and Family Tax Benefit (FTB). The respective income definitions currently include different treatments of certain tax-free amounts, foreign income and fringe benefits.

The child support income definition will be broadened to include certain tax free pensions and benefits. As assessed income will be higher under the broader income definition, child support transfers will increase by approximately $22.0 million over four years with FTB outlays decreasing as a result by $6.7 million over four years.

The FTB income definition will be broadened to include the gross value of reportable fringe benefits rather than the net value used at present. The higher assessed income under the broader definition will result in a reduction in FTB outlays of $123.7 million over four years.

The respective definitions used for foreign income will be broadened and aligned under this measure. This will increase child support transfers by $25.0 million and reduce FTB outlays by $22.3 million over four years.

Overall this alignment will increase child support transfers between separated parents by approximately $47.0 million over four years and will reduce FTB outlays by $152.8 million over the same period at a cost of $1.7 million (including $0.1 million in capital funding to implement system changes).

This measure forms part of the Government's response to the Ministerial Taskforce on Child Support. Further information can be found in the press release of 28 February 2006 issued by the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Child Support Reforms — external review
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 3.4 8.7 24.7 11.6
Department of Human Services 1.3 0.9 2.4 1.2
Federal Magistrates Court - 0.7 0.9 0.9
Total 4.7 10.3 27.9 13.7
Related capital ($m)
Federal Magistrates Court - 0.2 - -

The Government will provide $56.9 million over four years (including $0.2 million in capital funding) to establish a process of external administrative review of child support decisions by the Social Security Appeals Tribunal.

Under the current system, Child Support Agency (CSA) clients can only seek an external review of CSA decisions through the courts. The new external review process provides CSA clients with an alternative to court action to review CSA decisions.

This measure forms part of the Government's response to the Ministerial Taskforce on Child Support. Further information can be found in the press release of 28 February 2006 issued by the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Child Support Reforms — Family Relationship Centres
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Attorney-General's Department 9.2 13.2 15.2 8.1
Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 0.7 0.6 0.7 0.7
Department of Human Services 0.2 .. -0.2 -0.4
Total 10.1 13.8 15.8 8.4
Related capital ($m)
Attorney-General's Department 0.1 - - -

The Government will provide $48.4 million over five years (including $0.2 million in 2005-06 and $0.1 million in capital funding) to enhance the role of Family Relationship Centres to assist parents to reach agreement on parenting and child support arrangements. Under this measure Family Relationship Centres will also provide parenting seminars and may refer the family to other services, such as the Contact Orders Programme that assists families with significant conflict to resolve disputes over contact with children.

This measure forms part of the Government's response to the Ministerial Taskforce on Child Support. Further information can be found in the press release of 28 February 2006 issued by the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Child Support Reforms — changes to the Family Tax Benefit maintenance arrangements
Expense ($m)
2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 4.4 7.7 13.8 14.8
Department of Human Services 0.4 0.8 0.4 0.7
Australian Taxation Office 0.2 0.5 0.9 0.9
Total 5.0 8.9 15.1 16.4

A number of changes are being made to the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) arrangements where families separate at a cost of $45.4 million over four years.

Currently a maintenance income test reduces entitlement to FTB Part A by fifty cents for every dollar received in child support, until the base rate is received. The changes will ensure that the maintenance income test only applies to children in a family for whom child support is paid, at a total cost of $12.8 million.

    The time a resident parent is allowed to take action to obtain child support payments before FTB payments are affected is being increased from the current 28 days to 13 weeks, at a cost of $28.9 million over four years. In cases where parents choose to put in place a parenting agreement that is not based on the standard assessment, the FTB entitlements will be based on what the standard child support would produce. This change will cost $3.6 million over four years.

    This measure forms part of the Government's response to the Ministerial Taskforce on Child Support. Further information can be found in the press release of 28 February 2006 issued by the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

    Child Support Reforms — communication strategy
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 5.1 6.1 1.6 0.2
    Department of Human Services 4.1 17.7 0.2 -
    Total 9.2 23.9 1.7 0.2
    Related capital ($m)
    Centrelink 0.1 - - -

    The Government will provide $36.1 million over five years (including $1.1 million in 2005-06) to implement a communications strategy for the Child Support Scheme reforms. The strategy will aim to increase awareness about the reforms; encourage separated parents to comply with existing Child Support arrangements in the period between announcement and implementation of the new Child Support formula on 1 July 2008; and encourage parents to provide the information required under the new arrangements.

    The measure includes funding of $1.8 million over three years for peak groups to provide information and advice to constituents affected by the reforms.

    This measure forms part of the Government's response to the Ministerial Taskforce on Child Support. Further information can be found in the press release of 28 February 2006 issued by the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities

    The 2006-07 Budget continues the approach of addressing Indigenous needs established by the Government in 2004. At a national level, a Ministerial Taskforce on Indigenous Affairs, consisting of those Ministers with key portfolio responsibilities, has reviewed the needs of Indigenous Australians and determined priorities. This process has taken into account advice from the National Indigenous Council, an Indigenous panel of experts, which advises the Government on Indigenous issues.

    This budget contains a package of 24 Indigenous measures which cost $372.9 million over five years (including $14.3 million in 2005-06), plus capital investment in financial assets of $114.6 million. These initiatives address priorities of Indigenous leadership and governance; Indigenous health, employment and education outcomes; safe communities; and housing.

    This new expenditure builds on the Government's commitment of $311.8 million over four years announced in the 2005-06 Budget. The Australian Government's overall Indigenous specific expenditure is expected to increase to $3.3 billion in 2006-07, up from $3.1 billion announced in the 2005-06 Budget.

    In addressing the needs of Indigenous communities, the Government continues to share responsibility with Indigenous communities and other levels of government for identifying and addressing priorities, designing solutions and managing implementation.

    Table 8: Strengthening Indigenous Communities
      2006-07
    $m
    2007-08
    $m
    2008-09
    $m
    2009-10
    $m
    Total
    $m
    REVENUE MEASURES          
    EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS          
    Indigenous Business Australia          
    Strengthening Indigenous Communities          
    - improving the sustainability of community stores 0.8 1.2 1.6 - 3.6
    - Home Ownership Programme — additional lending capacity 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.2 4.3
    Sub Total 1.8 2.3 2.7 1.2 7.9
    Total Revenue measures 1.8 2.3 2.7 1.2 7.9
    EXPENSE MEASURES          
    ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S          
    Attorney-General's Department          
    Strengthening Indigenous Communities          
    - reducing substance abuse (petrol sniffing) 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.8 14.9
    - Indigenous family violence prevention legal services — expand funding 2.2 7.1 7.1 7.2 23.6
    - Northern Territory Indigenous Interpreter Services — extension of funding 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.3 5.1
    Sub Total 7.1 12.0 12.2 12.4 43.6
    EDUCATION, SCIENCE AND TRAINING          
    Department of Education, Science and Training          
    Strengthening Indigenous Communities          
    - reducing substance abuse (petrol sniffing) 1.1 1.3 1.4 1.4 5.1
    - expanding the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme to vocational education and training students 3.1 6.1 6.2 6.4 21.8
    - using sport to improve young Indigenous people's education and life prospects 3.4 4.6 5.6 5.9 19.6
    - expanding the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme to Year 9 students 3.7 7.8 4.1 - 15.6
    - establishing a pilot community managed Indigenous boarding college - - - - -
    Sub Total 11.2 19.9 17.3 13.7 62.1
    EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS          
    Department of Employment and Workplace Relations          
    Strengthening Indigenous Communities          
    - changes to employment services - - - - -
    - Remote Area Servicing — continue and expand funding 2.0 1.3 1.2 1.3 5.8
    - enhanced opportunities for employment and participation in remote communities 3.7 4.6 4.8 4.9 17.9
    Indigenous Business Australia          
    Strengthening Indigenous Communities          
    - expansion of Home Ownership on Indigenous Land Programme 2.9 6.0 7.3 7.4 23.7
    - improving the sustainability of community stores 2.6 2.6 2.9 - 8.0
    - Home Ownership Programme — additional lending capacity 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 1.6
    Sub Total 11.5 14.9 16.7 13.9 56.9
    FAMILIES, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS          
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs          
    Strengthening Indigenous Communities          
    - expansion of Home Ownership on Indigenous Land Programme 3.2 4.7 9.8 11.5 29.2
    - reducing substance abuse (petrol sniffing) 2.4 3.4 4.6 4.7 15.0
    - reforming the delivery capacity of Indigenous corporations 6.7 6.4 6.7 6.6 26.5
    - Indigenous community leadership 4.4 5.6 6.5 6.6 23.0
    - extending Family Income Management and improving family payment outcomes for Indigenous children 5.0 3.4 4.1 4.2 16.6
    - Family and Community Networks Initiative — continue funding - - - - -
    - Cape York Institute welfare reform project 2.0 - - - 2.0
    - Scouts Australia — establishing a National Indigenous Scouting Programme - - - - -
    - Cape York Digital Network - - - - -
    - Reconciliation Australia — developing 1967 referendum anniversary activities - - - - -
    Sub Total 23.7 23.4 31.6 33.6 112.3
    HEALTH AND AGEING          
    Department of Health and Ageing          
    Strengthening Indigenous Communities          
    - reducing substance abuse (petrol sniffing) 2.2 5.7 6.1 6.1 20.1
    - improving Indigenous access to health care services 4.0 6.6 12.2 16.7 39.5
    - improving Indigenous health worker employment 3.2 5.8 5.7 5.8 20.5
    - additional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged care places 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.8
    Sub Total 9.4 18.3 24.3 28.9 80.9
    Total Expense measures 62.9 88.5 102.1 102.5 355.9
    CAPITAL MEASURES          
    ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S          
    Attorney-General's Department          
    Strengthening Indigenous Communities          
    - reducing substance abuse (petrol sniffing) .. - - - -
    Sub Total - - - - -
    EMPLOYMENT AND WORKPLACE RELATIONS          
    Indigenous Business Australia          
    Strengthening Indigenous Communities          
    - expansion of Home Ownership on Indigenous Land Programme - - - - -
    - improving the sustainability of community stores - - - - -
    - Home Ownership Programme — additional lending capacity - - - - -
    Sub Total - - - - -
    FAMILIES, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS          
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs          
    Strengthening Indigenous Communities          
    - reforming the delivery capacity of Indigenous corporations 1.5 0.1 - - 1.6
    Sub Total 1.5 0.1 - - 1.6
    HUMAN SERVICES          
    Centrelink          
    Strengthening Indigenous Communities          
    - Remote Area Servicing — continue and expand funding 1.1 - - - 1.1
    Sub Total 1.1 - - - 1.1
    Total Capital measures 2.6 0.1 - - 2.7
    SUMMARY OF EXPENDITURE          
    Total expense measures

    62.9 88.5 102.1 102.5 355.9
    Total capital measures

    2.6 0.1 - - 2.7
    Total expenditure 65.6 88.6 102.1 102.5 358.7
    Total revenue measures 1.8 2.3 2.7 1.2 7.9
    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — changes to employment services
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Employment and Workplace Relations - - - -

    The Government will provide $126.5 million over four years for changes to employment services for Indigenous people. The additional funding is to support compulsory Job Network registration for participants in the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) programme living in urban and regional areas. Participation in CDEP will also be limited to 12 months for new CDEP participants living in urban and regional areas.

    The cost of this measure will be met from existing resources for the CDEP programme.

    Further information can be found in the press release of 29 March 2006 issued by the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — expansion of Home Ownership on Indigenous Land Programme
    Capital ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Indigenous Business Australia - - - -
    Related expense ($m)
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 3.2 4.7 9.8 11.5
    Indigenous Business Australia 2.9 6.0 7.3 7.4
    Total 6.1 10.7 17.1 18.9

    The Government will provide $107.5 million (including $54.6 million in capital) over four years to assist in the construction of housing for Indigenous individuals and families on Indigenous land.

    The measure includes funding of $23.7 million for Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) and $29.2 million for the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaCSIA) to support Indigenous home ownership by building additional houses in Indigenous communities for purchase, provide subsidised home loans and incentives, and provide a money management programme for these Indigenous communities. The flexible loans and grants will be provided through IBA's Home Ownership on Indigenous Land Programme and FaCSIA will fund State and Territory governments to construct new homes and provide discounts on the purchase price of community housing homes under the Community Housing and Infrastructure Program.

    The provision of loans affects only the composition of the Australian Government's financial assets. As such, the capital component of this measure has no impact on the fiscal balance.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — reducing substance abuse (petrol sniffing)
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Attorney-General's Department 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.8
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 2.4 3.4 4.6 4.7
    Department of Health and Ageing 2.2 5.7 6.1 6.1
    Department of Education, Science and Training 1.1 1.3 1.4 1.4
    Total 9.3 14.1 15.8 16.0
    Related capital ($m)
    Attorney-General's Department .. - - -

    The Government will provide $55.2 million over four years to continue and expand a whole-of-government strategy to reduce the incidence and impact of substance abuse, including petrol sniffing, in Indigenous communities. This funding will support the continued roll-out of Opal non-aromatic fuel as well as a range of prevention, diversion and rehabilitation activities to the Central Desert region and an additional two regions.

    Under this measure, funding will be provided to expand the availability of Opal non-aromatic fuel in Indigenous communities. Additional funding will also be provided for the Prevention, Diversion, Rehabilitation and Restorative Justice Programme, including $37,000 in capital funding in 2006-07 for office fit-out. Funding will also be provided for non-clinical support for families dealing with the impacts of substance abuse, and for five prevention and intervention projects for young people at risk of, or engaged in, substance abuse.

    This measure builds on funding of $19.1 million over four years from 2005-06 that was provided in the 2005-06 Budget measure Addressing Indigenous Needs — Combating Petrol Sniffing and the 2005-06 Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook measure Addressing Indigenous Needs — Combating Petrol Sniffing — additional funding.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — improving the sustainability of community stores
    Capital ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Indigenous Business Australia - - - -
    Related expense ($m)
    Indigenous Business Australia 2.6 2.6 2.9 -
    Related revenue ($m)        
    Indigenous Business Australia 0.8 1.2 1.6 -

    The Government will provide $48.0 million (including $40.0 million in capital) over three years for Indigenous Business Australia to establish a not-for-profit company, which would offer franchises to operate stores in Indigenous communities and provide loan finance to help establish and run the stores. Funding of $8.0 million will meet the running costs associated with the not-for-profit company in the initial years.

    The franchise model will help establish viable businesses that promote healthy food and offer employment opportunities, while providing a broader range of goods and services in Indigenous communities.

    The capital component will generate interest revenue totalling $3.6 million over three years. The additional interest revenue is more than offset by the public debt interest costs incurred by the Australian Government in financing the loans, which are separately accounted for in the Budget papers.

    The provision of loans affects only the composition of the Australian Government's financial assets. As such, the capital component of the measure has no impact on the fiscal balance.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — improving Indigenous access to health care services
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Health and Ageing 4.0 6.6 12.2 16.7

    The Government will provide $39.5 million over four years to improve access to health care services for Indigenous Australians. This will fund two initiatives — the establishment of five brokerage services that will arrange access for Indigenous Australians to general practitioners and allied health workers in urban areas, and the recruitment of an additional 40 health professionals to provide Indigenous-specific primary care services in rural and remote areas.

    The new brokerage services will help to improve the responsiveness of mainstream health services, and will benefit up to 15,000 Indigenous Australians. The recruitment of health professionals to provide Indigenous-specific primary care services will help increase access to medical services for Indigenous people in rural and remote areas.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — reforming the delivery capacity of Indigenous corporations
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 6.7 6.4 6.7 6.6
    Related capital ($m)
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 1.5 0.1 - -

    The Government will provide $28.1 million over four years to the Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations to improve the governance of Indigenous corporations.

    The measure will provide $8.5 million to expand specialised, informal and certified training programmes to new regions and to wider target groups such as young people.

    Funding of $12.3 million will also be provided to strengthen compliance with the regulatory framework including by establishing a disqualified directors register and using administrators to help manage Indigenous corporations experiencing financial or operational difficulties.

    Capital funding of $1.6 million will be used to upgrade the electronic register of Indigenous corporations to incorporate the disqualified directors register and to meet increased regulation workload and data sharing requirements.

    Funding of $3 million will be provided to re-design Indigenous corporations to improve internal governance, and funding of $2.6 million will be provided to establish a panel of specialist recruitment agencies to improve recruitment and retention of staff in Indigenous corporations.

    This measure builds on the 2002-03 Budget measure Enhanced training of directors of Indigenous organisations which terminates on 30 June 2006.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — Indigenous family violence prevention legal services — expand funding
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Attorney-General's Department 2.2 7.1 7.1 7.2

    The Government will provide $23.6 million over four years for five new Indigenous family violence prevention legal services units, to expand the role of the 26 existing units, and to help implement violence prevention strategies.

    This measure will provide legal advice and counselling for Indigenous people as well as providing funding for community education on preventing family violence and sexual abuse.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — Indigenous community leadership
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 4.4 5.6 6.5 6.6

    The Government will provide $23.0 million over four years to deliver leadership training, assist communities to participate in agreement making processes and undertake research into effective Indigenous leadership development.

    Funding of $13.4 million will be provided to enhance leadership development training and provide advanced leadership courses and scholarships under the Indigenous Women's Development Programme. This includes leadership development training for 250 men and 220 young people. Programme participants will develop skills and run targeted activities in their own communities. Leadership training will also be provided to up to 10 organisations that have a primary focus on Indigenous women's development.

    Funding of $9.6 million will be provided to assist remote Indigenous communities negotiate Shared Responsibility Agreements. This will include providing brokerage services to improve the interaction between communities and governments, support to specific groups within communities who may act as catalysts for change, and skills development within communities. The measure will also develop a support network amongst the people and organisations assisting remote communities.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — Remote Area Servicing — continue and expand funding
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 2.0 1.3 1.2 1.3
    Related capital ($m)
    Centrelink 1.1 - - -

    The Government will provide $22.1 million over four years (including $1.1 million capital funding in 2006-07) to continue and expand the delivery of government services to remote communities. The funding provides for the continued operation of 10 existing Remote Area Service Centres and the establishment of two additional centres. The centres provide access to a range of government-funded services including through Job Network, CRS Australia, Medicare Australia and literacy and numeracy providers. They also deliver Centrelink services and programmes to remote communities, including income support, supplementary payments and access to specialist officers.

    Funding of $3.8 million per year from 2006-07 to 2009-10 is already included in the forward estimates for the operation of existing centres.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — expanding the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme to vocational education and training students
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Education, Science and Training 3.1 6.1 6.2 6.4

    The Government will provide $21.8 million over four years to provide Indigenous students undertaking vocational education and training courses, that are required for the attainment of a Certificate III level qualification or higher, with access to additional tutorial assistance for up to two hours per week. This measure brings Indigenous vocational education and training students into line with Indigenous school and higher education students in terms of access to tutorial assistance.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — improving Indigenous health worker employment
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Health and Ageing 3.2 5.8 5.7 5.8

    The Government will provide $20.5 million over four years to fund 130 full-time equivalent positions in community-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care and substance use services. This will enable services that have employed Community Development Employment Project participants on a long-term basis to permanently fill these positions. This measure recognises the work of Indigenous participants in these organisations and remunerates them accordingly, to improve retention rates and develop career pathways for Indigenous people in the health workforce.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — Home Ownership Programme —additional lending capacity
    Capital ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Indigenous Business Australia - - - -
    Related revenue ($m)
    Indigenous Business Australia 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.2
    Related expense ($m)        
    Indigenous Business Australia 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4

    The Government will provide additional capital of $20.0 million in 2006-07 to Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) to expand the lending capacity of the Home Ownership Programme. This measure will enable IBA to provide housing loans to an additional 140 Indigenous families over four years.

    The additional capital will generate estimated additional interest revenue of $4.3 million over four years, which will be used to provide further loans. The additional interest revenue is more than offset by the public debt interest costs incurred by the Australian Government in financing the loans, which are separately accounted for in the Budget papers.

    The Government will also provide $1.6 million over four years to IBA to deliver the expansion of the programme.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — using sport to improve young Indigenous people's education and life prospects
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Education, Science and Training 3.4 4.6 5.6 5.9

    The Government will provide $19.6 million over four years to establish 20 sporting academies for Indigenous students that operate in partnership with schools. These academies will use sports programmes to engage Indigenous teenagers to improve their education, health and employment outcomes.

    This initiative will be implemented in partnership with national sporting bodies, corporate and philanthropic organisations, and in collaboration with State and Territory Governments.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — enhanced opportunities for employment and participation in remote communities
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 3.7 4.6 4.8 4.9

    The Government will provide $17.9 million over four years to help fund a progressive lifting of remote area exemptions from activity testing for income support recipients in remote communities. As a result, income support recipients in the communities will be required to look for work or undertake other approved activities.

    The measure will provide an additional $12.1 million for Job Network and $5.9 million for Centrelink and the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to implement these arrangements. Places in other services, including the Personal Support Programme, Community Development Employment Projects and Work for the Dole will be made available within existing resources.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — extending Family Income Management and improving family payment outcomes for Indigenous children
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 5.0 3.4 4.1 4.2

    The Government will provide $16.6 million over four years to extend the Family Income Management programme. This programme aims to increase the financial management capacity of Indigenous families by increasing skills in budgeting and knowledge of the taxation, social security and family assistance systems.

    The measure will also enhance Centrelink payment systems to allow family assistance to more easily flow to those with primary responsibility for the care of children where children move frequently between carers.

    This measure extends and expands the 2004-05 Budget measure Indigenous Financial Management which provides funding of $1.1 million in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — expanding the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme to Year 9 students
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Education, Science and Training 3.7 7.8 4.1 -

    The Government will expand the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme to Year 9 students to encourage students to stay at school, at a cost of $15.6 million over three years. (The scheme is currently available to Indigenous Year 10, 11 and 12 students, at a cost of $41.9 million over four years.) This measure will provide approximately 2,500 Year 9 students with tuition for up to four hours per week for 32 weeks a year.

    Funding for Year 9 students will be available under this measure until the end of 2008, consistent with the existing quadrennium arrangements under the Indigenous Education (Targeted Assistance) Act 2000. Funding beyond this period will be considered in the 2009 to 2012 quadrennium funding arrangements.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — Family and Community Networks Initiative — continue funding
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - -

    The Government will provide $10.7 million over four years to continue the Family and Community Networks Initiative. This programme provides funding for projects to improve access to information and services and in building social networks within communities. It aims to improve the coordination and collaboration between government jurisdictions and encourages involvement of local business in community development.

    This measure involves funding of $2.6 million 2006-07, $2.7 million in 2007-08 and 2008-09, and $2.8 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in the forward estimates.

    This measure extends funding for the 1998-99 Budget measure Improving services for families through enhancement of family and community service networks.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — establishing a pilot community managed Indigenous boarding college
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Education, Science and Training - - - -

    The Government will provide $10.0 million in 2005-06 to contribute to the construction costs of establishing a non-government, community managed boarding college to deliver education and related services to Year 7 to 12 Indigenous students on the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — Northern Territory Indigenous Interpreter Services — extension of funding
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Attorney-General's Department 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.3

    The Government will provide $5.1 million over four years to the Northern Territory Government to assist with the provision of Indigenous interpreter services.

    This measure will facilitate better communication between Indigenous people, whose first language is not English, and service providers in the areas of justice, health, employment, education and welfare services.

    This measure extends the 2005-06 Budget measure, Addressing Indigenous Needs — Northern Territory Indigenous Interpreter Services — extension of funding which provided $1.1 million in 2005-06.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — Cape York Institute welfare reform project
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 2.0 - - -

    The Government will provide $3.0 million over two years (including $1.0 million in 2005-06) to the Cape York Institute to develop proposals for new welfare arrangements in collaboration with four volunteer Indigenous communities — Aurukun, Hopevale, Coen and Mosman Gorge. The measure will offer opportunities for Indigenous people in those communities to contribute to developing options to improve work and training incentives and outcomes, strengthen parenting and improve child wellbeing.

    This measure provides funding for the initial phase of policy design and community consultation.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — Scouts Australia — establishing a National Indigenous Scouting Programme
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - -

    The Government will provide $2.0 million in 2005-06 to Scouts Australia to roll out the National Indigenous Scouts Programme over the next three years. The programme will develop a culturally specific leadership and community development programme for young Indigenous people in isolated communities.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — additional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander aged care places
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Health and Ageing 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.3

    The Government will provide additional funding of $0.8 million over four years for the transfer of existing residential aged care and community care places to specifically meet Indigenous needs under the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care Strategy. This strategy focuses on providing flexible aged care places to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can access the most appropriate form of aged care given their individual circumstances and location.

    Total funding under the new arrangements will be $1.9 million in 2006-07, $3.3 million in 2007-08, $4.9 million in 2008-09 and $5.0 million in 2009-10. Provision for all but the additional $0.8 million has already been included in the forward estimates.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — Cape York Digital Network
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - -

    The Government will provide $0.8 million in 2005-06 to continue the provision of telecommunications services through the Cape York Digital Network for remote Indigenous Cape York communities until 30 June 2007. The Cape York Digital Network was established through Australian Government Networking the Nation funding. The ongoing viability of the network will be reviewed during 2006-07.

    Strengthening Indigenous Communities — Reconciliation Australia — developing 1967 referendum anniversary activities
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - -

    The Government will provide $0.5 million in 2005-06 for Reconciliation Australia to undertake activities in 2007 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1967 referendum. The referendum resulted in amendment of the Constitution so that the Australian Government could make special laws regarding Indigenous people and count them in the census. This opened the way for greater Australian Government involvement in Indigenous affairs. The activities will raise the profile of reconciliation and promote a greater understanding of reconciliation.

    Reconciliation Australia is a non-profit organisation that aims to promote and build reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

    Other measures in the Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolio

    Assurance of Support Scheme — additional funding
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 6.0 - - -

    The Government will provide an additional $6.0 million in 2006-07 to assist in the administration of the Assurance of Support Scheme conducted by Centrelink.

    People seeking to enter Australia on certain visa categories are required to have their visa applications supported by a permanent resident through the Assurance of Support Scheme. The assurance involves a commitment by the assurer to provide financial support to a new resident during a period of 10 years for a Contributory Parent visa and two years for all other visa categories. In addition, the assurer makes a commitment to repay to the Australian Government certain social security payments if any payments are made to the new resident during the Assurance of Support period.

    The Assurance of Support Scheme involves Centrelink assessing the assurer's ability to meet their obligations.

    A review of the Assurance of Support Scheme will be undertaken for the 2007-08 Budget which will determine the most appropriate ongoing arrangements for the operation and funding of the Scheme.

    Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment — introduction
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 4.3 2.9 3.0 3.0

    The Government will replace current use of ex-gratia payments in disaster situations with the introduction of an Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP).

    From 1 December 2006, where a disaster has occurred, the Prime Minister, in consultation with the Minister for Family, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, will determine if the AGDRP is to apply. In those cases the AGDRP will provide a one-off payment, of $1,000 per adult and $400 per child, in recognition of the trauma and distress experienced by those affected. The AGDRP, which will be administered by Centrelink, will be implemented by amending and renaming provisions relating to the current Disaster Relief Payment under the Social Security Act 1991.

    Based on the current use of ex-gratia payments following the occurrence of a disaster, the cost of AGDRP is estimated to be $13.1 million over four years.

    Bushfire assistance — ex-gratia payments to victims of the bushfires in New South Wales and Victoria
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - -

    The Government has provided $0.4 million in 2005-06 for ex-gratia payments to individuals whose homes were severely damaged by the 2006 New Year bushfires in the Junee region of New South Wales and the Grampians and Anakie regions of Victoria, and the 12 March 2006 bushfires in central Victoria.

    A payment of $1,000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child was made to those whose principal place of residence had been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable for at least two weeks. This measure also included donations of $50,000 to the NSW Farmers' Association Disaster Relief Fund, $50,000 to the Grampians Region Bushfire Appeal, and $30,000 for the Salvation Army Bushfire Appeal.

    Further information on the Victorian bushfires can be found in the press release of 28 January 2006 issued by the Prime Minister.

    Carer Allowance (child) — addition to the list of recognised disabilities
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 0.6 0.8 0.9 1.1

    The Government will add Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 to the List of Recognised Disabilities and Medical Conditions for the purposes of assessing claims for Carer Allowance (child) for children under the age of 10 years, at an estimated cost of $3.4 million over four years.

    The addition of Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 to the list will reduce the processing time for related claims.

    Carers — payment of one-off carer bonus
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 3.6 - - -

    The Government will provide $358.0 million (including $354.4 million in 2005-06) for a lump sum payment to eligible carers, in recognition of their contribution in caring for people with disabilities and the frail aged. Carer Payment recipients will receive $1,000 and recipients of Carer Allowance will receive $600 for each eligible person in their care. Those eligible for both payments on Budget night 2006 will receive both lump sum payments.

    In addition, those eligible for both the Carer Allowance and either the Wife Pension or Department of Veterans' Affairs Partner Service Pension on Budget night 2006 will receive both bonus payments.

    A small number of claimants are expected to become eligible for the one-off lump sum payment in 2006-07 where they are assessed as eligible for the benefit after 1 July 2006 and have their eligibility for the benefit backdated to Budget night.

    Centrelink — call centre supplementation
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 41.0 32.8 - -
    Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 15.8 12.6 - -
    Department of Education, Science and Training 5.7 4.6 - -
    Total 62.5 50.0 - -
    Related capital ($m)
    Centrelink 2.5 - - -

    The Government will provide funding of $115.0 million over two years (including capital funding of $2.5 million in 2006-07) to ensure Centrelink is able to meet anticipated peaks in demand arising from clients making increased use of call centres and a trend towards longer and more complex calls.

    This initiative will also expand Centrelink's natural language speech recognition and telephony technology, building on existing capabilities to provide consumers the ability to gather and update information through self-service telephony systems.

    Funding under this measure will be provided to policy departments to purchase call centre services from Centrelink, with the majority of funding provided to the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs to improve the Government's capacity to efficiently and effectively offer telephone-based services to families.

    The measure continues and expands the measure Centrelink — call centre supplementation announced in the 2004-05 Budget which provided funding of $67.4 million over three years (including $15.4 million in 2003-04).

    Child care — Jobs, Education and Training (JET) Child Care fee assistance — continue and extend
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 9.4 - - -

    The Government will provide an additional $6.0 million in 2005-06 and $9.4 million in 2006-07 to the Jobs, Education and Training (JET) Child Care fee assistance programme. This funding includes $0.8 million in 2006-07 for Centrelink to process additional JET Child Care claims.

    JET Child Care fee assistance provides eligible parents who are returning to work or undertaking eligible study or training courses, with additional child care assistance by paying most of the 'gap fee' (the difference between the fee charged by the child care service and the maximum rate of Child Care Benefit). Assistance may be approved for up to 26 weeks for parents undertaking paid or unpaid work, for up to 20 days for Job Search and for up to 12 months for education and training.

    This measure will provide affordable child care to an additional 6,000 recipients in 2005-06 and 7,000 in 2006-07.

    This measure also includes the continuation of the Australians Working Together — More Child Care Places — JET Child Care component. This includes lapsing funding of $3.5 million in 2006-07, $3.6 million in 2007-08, $3.8 million in 2008-09 and $3.9 million in 2009-10 (including $2.0 million for Centrelink to deliver this programme). Provision for this funding has already been included in forward estimates.

    Additional funding of $56.2 million (including $10.2 million to administer this measure) over four years was provided to the JET programme in the 2005-06 Budget as part of the Welfare to Work Reform package.

    Child care — uncapping outside school hours care and family day care
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 10.6 12.9 16.5 20.3

    The Government will remove the current limits on the number of outside school hours care and family day care places at a cost of $60.2 million. This will allow existing and new child care providers to expand child care places to meet demand.

    It is estimated that this measure will lead to 25,000 additional places over and above the existing 336,600 places. All new approved services will be automatically eligible for Child Care Benefit, however, they will have to apply for establishment funding.

    The measure also includes a range of strategies to encourage more places in regions of unmet need and to foster the development of outside school hours care and family day care services through liaison and consultation with service providers and key stakeholders.

    COAG Health Services — improving accommodation arrangements for younger people with a disability
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 5.7 14.8 28.8 38.9
    Department of Health and Ageing 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4
    Total 6.2 15.3 29.3 39.4

    The Government will provide funding of up to $130.0 million over six years (including $0.5 million in 2005-06 and $39.4 million in 2010-11) to assist younger people with disabilities living in residential aged care to find more appropriate accommodation. The level of funding is dependent on State and Territory governments providing a matching contribution to assist with the implementation of this measure.

    This measure aims to reduce the number of younger people in nursing homes, divert those at risk of admission to nursing homes to more appropriate accommodation and provide disability support to those already in nursing homes.

    This measure forms part of the Government's contribution to the COAG Health Services package, announced on 10 February 2006.

    See the related expense measures COAG Health Services in the Health and Ageing and Education, Science and Training portfolios.

    Further information can be found in the Council of Australian Governments' Meeting Communiqué.

    Cyclone Larry — ex-gratia payments
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs .. - - -

    The Government will provide ex-gratia payments to support individuals whose homes have been severely damaged by Tropical Cyclone Larry in North Queensland, at a cost of up to $39.0 million in 2005-06. This includes funding for Centrelink of $0.9 million over two years and a donation of $0.1 million to the State Government Relief Fund.

    The ex-gratia payment of $1,000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child will be made to those whose principal place of residence has been destroyed or rendered uninhabitable for a period of at least two weeks.

    Further information can be found in the press release of 20 March 2006 issued by the Prime Minister.

    Cyclone Larry — fuel excise relief
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - -
    Related revenue ($m)
    Australian Taxation Office -8.0 -1.5 -1.0 -0.5

    The Government will provide for a fuel excise relief payment to support those affected by Tropical Cyclone Larry in North Queensland at a cost of up to $17.8 million in 2005-06. This includes funding for Centrelink of $0.4 million over two years. While income tax will not be payable on this payment, there is an impact on revenue as business will be able to claim deductions for the full value of the fuel purchases including the excise component.

    This one-off diesel and petrol fuel subsidy programme is to assist households and businesses (including farmers) that are generating their own electricity until normal services are restored. The payment is to be made available in two streams, as a flat payment of $280 a month where a household is without reliable electricity, and $560 a month where a business is without reliable electricity. Where businesses or private homes using diesel generators are receiving diesel excise under the Energy Grants Credit Scheme, they would not be able to claim a second time under this new measure.

    Further information can be found in the press release of 28 March 2006 issued by the Prime Minister and at the website www.disasterassist.gov.au.

    Cyclone Larry — one-off income support
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 40.1 - - -

    The Government will provide one-off income support for eligible farmers and small business owners affected by Cyclone Larry in North Queensland, at a cost of up to $80.5 million (including $40.4 million in 2005-06). This includes funding for Centrelink of $0.5 million over two years.

    Farmers and small business owners will be able to claim an income support payment equivalent to Newstart Allowance for up to six months. In determining eligibility, the capital value of their farm or business assets will be excluded from the assets test. The income test currently applied to the Newstart Allowance payment will apply.

    Further information can be found in the press release of 22 March 2006 issued by the Prime Minister.

    Domestic violence — Crisis Payments to victims who remain in the home
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 1.0 0.3 0.4 0.4
    Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2
    Department of Education, Science and Training .. .. .. ..
    Total 1.1 0.5 0.6 0.6

    The Government will provide $2.8 million over four years to extend the Crisis Payment to victims of domestic violence in severe financial hardship who choose to remain in their home. Eligible recipients will receive a payment of approximately $230 claimable up to four times a year. The payment will be available from 1 January 2007.

    Currently, a person is only eligible for Crisis Payment if they leave their home after experiencing domestic violence.

    Duke of Edinburgh Awards — funding for Prime Minister's Youth Challenge
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - -

    The Government will provide a one-off grant of $600,000 in 2005-06 to the Duke of Edinburgh Awards to fund a Prime Minister's Youth Challenge.

    The Prime Minister's Youth Challenge will aim to increase the number of young people involved in the awards across Australia from 15,000 a year to 25,000 by 2010.

    Further information can be found in the press release of 23 March 2006 issued by the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

    Family Tax Benefit — extending the large family supplement
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 102.3 112.9 115.4 116.5
    Australian Taxation Office 11.4 12.5 12.8 12.9
    Total 113.7 125.4 128.2 129.4

    The Government will extend the Large Family Supplement to families with three children entitled to Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB (A)), at a cost of $496.7 million over four years from 1 July 2006.

    Currently the supplement is paid to families with four or more children entitled to FTB (A) and approximately 100,000 families receive the large family supplement. It is expected that this measure will increase the number of families receiving the supplement to approximately 440,000.

    Family Tax Benefit — increase Family Tax Benefit Part A income threshold
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 200.3 203.0 204.2 209.2
    Australian Taxation Office 22.3 22.6 22.7 23.2
    Department of Health and Ageing 19.2 20.6 22.1 23.9
    Total 241.8 246.2 249.0 256.3

    The Government will relax the income test for Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB (A)) at a cost of $993.3 million over four years. From 1 July 2006, the amount that a family can earn each year before their FTB (A) is reduced will be increased to $40,000.

    This measure will extend the planned increase in the FTB (A) maximum rate threshold announced in the 2005-06 Budget by a further $2,500 (from $37,500). Once the income of families with dependent children exceeds the maximum threshold, FTB (A) reduces from the maximum rate at a rate of 20 cents for every extra dollar of income, until the base rate of payment is reached.

    Funding for the measure includes $90.8 million over four years for those who receive FTB (A) payments though the ATO, and $85.8 million over four years for the Department of Health and Ageing to cover flow on costs from increased eligibility for Health Care concession cards.

    It is expected that this measure will increase the amount of FTB (A) received by over 480,000 families.

    Financial services sector — reducing red tape
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 0.8 -1.3 -2.5 -2.9

    The Government will provide $1.5 million in 2006-07 and $0.8 million in 2007-08 to enable firms in the financial services sector to provide data to Centrelink electronically on income stream payments they make to Centrelink clients. Automating current processes will allow for more accurate income and asset testing of income recipients, reduce Centrelink's processing and compliance costs, and reduce paper work for clients.

    This measure is expected to lead to savings in social welfare payments of $8.2 million and will cost $2.3 million to administer, leading to net savings of $5.9 million over four years.

    Japan — social security agreement
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - .. 1.3 0.6

    The Government will provide $1.9 million over three years from 2007-08 to extend the current network of reciprocal social security agreements to include Japan. This measure includes funding of $1.4 million for Centrelink to implement system changes and process additional age pension claims.

    This agreement is expected to commence on 1 January 2009 and will provide access to the Age Pension by people whose adult lives are spent both in Australia and Japan. Australia and Japan will share financial responsibility for the pension, each paying a proportion of their pension based on the length of residence or contributions that recipients have accrued in each country.

    London and Bali bombings — travel assistance to families
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 1.2 - - -

    The Government will provide $1.2 million in 2006-07 to assist the Australian victims and their families to travel to the first anniversary commemorations for the 7 July 2005 London bombings, and 1 October 2005 Bali bombings. Assistance will also be provided to victims and their families who wish to travel to Indonesia to attend the trials of the alleged perpetrators of the 2005 Bali bombings.

    National Emergency Call Centre — establishment
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 3.5 2.4 2.4 2.4
    Australian Taxation Office 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
    Medicare Australia 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
    Department of Human Services 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
    Attorney-General's Department 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
    Department of Health and Ageing .. .. .. ..
    Total 4.0 2.9 2.9 2.9
    Related capital ($m)
    Centrelink 1.1 - - -

    The Government will provide $13.9 million over four years (including $1.1 million in capital funding) to establish a National Emergency Call Centre capability that can be operational with one hour's notice of an emergency of national significance being declared by the Government.

    Building on existing government call centre arrangements, this measure will provide a toll free number as the single Australian Government contact point for those seeking information following the declaration of an emergency. Trained officers will provide up to date information about the emergency event and information on financial assistance, counselling, health and medical issues, general welfare concerns, self-help advice and referrals to other government services.

    Under this measure, expense funding for Centrelink is provided through the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and funding for the Child Support Agency through the Department of Human Services.

    See also the related expense measure Social and community impact recovery incident facility — establishment in the Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolio.

    Nonprofit Australia — continue funding
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 0.5 0.5 0.5 -

    The Government will provide funding of $1.5 million over three years to continue support for Nonprofit Australia in its role of building the capacity of the non-profit sector.

    The Government has previously provided financial support to Nonprofit Australia under the Prime Minster's Community Business Partnership, including $500,000 in 2004-05 and $350,000 in 2005-06.

    Older Australians — payment of one-off bonus
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Veterans' Affairs - - - -
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - -
    Total - - - -

    The Government will provide $192.5 million in 2005-06 (including $27.7 million for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs) for an additional one-off payment by 30 June 2006 equal to the maximum rate of Utilities Allowance ($102.80) to each household with a person of Age or Service Pension age eligible for Utilities Allowance on 9 May 2006. A $102.80 payment will also be provided by 30 June 2006 to each self-funded retiree eligible for the Seniors Concession Allowance on 9 May 2006.

    See also the related expense measure Utilities Allowance – extension and one-off payment to allowees with long-term barriers to employment in the Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio.

    Peer support groups for parents of young children with disabilities — establishment
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 1.0 1.5 3.1 3.5

    The Government will provide $9.0 million over four years to establish peer support groups for parents of young children with disabilities. Funding will provide for a national coordinator to manage the programme, group facilitators to engage in education and support activities, and assistance with ongoing costs.

    The measure will assist over 2,500 families participating in over 300 parent support groups nationally each year.

    Pension asset test — changed treatment
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 38.4 35.8 37.6 38.7
    Department of Veterans’ Affairs 3.8 5.9 6.3 6.7
    Total 42.2 41.7 43.9 45.3
    Related capital ($m)
    Department of Veterans’ Affairs 0.1 - - -

    The Government will increase, in certain circumstances, the maximum amount of private land adjacent to a person’s principal residence that can be exempt from the age and service pension assets test at a cost of $173.3 million over four years (including $0.1 million in capital funding in 2006-07).

    A pensioner’s home is exempt from the assets test. The value of land immediately surrounding the home on the same title is also exempt up to a limit of two hectares, if used for private purposes.

    From 1 January 2007, the maximum amount of private land adjacent to a person’s principal residence that can be exempt from the assets test will, in certain circumstances, be increased from two hectares to encompass all the land on the same title as the person’s home. There will be a number of qualifying conditions including a requirement for the land to be owned for 20 years or more and that it is not reasonable for the person to realise the asset or lease the land. The requirement that this land be used for private purposes will also continue to apply. No changes will be made to the income test.

    This measure is limited to Age Pensioners and Carers of Age Pension age paid under the Social Security Act 1991 and qualified people of Age Service Pension age; or for a service pensioner couple, where one member of a couple has reached the relevant pension age under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986.

    Quality assurance and disability employment places — continue funding
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - -

    The Government will provide $49.9 million over four years to continue funding for the Quality Strategy for employment assistance to ensure that the employment assistance provided to people with disabilities is of a high standard.

    This measure also continues funding for 1,000 disability employment places that are providing opportunities for people with disabilities in rural and remote locations and areas of high demand.

    This measure involves funding of $12.0 million in 2006-07, $12.3 million in 2007-08, $12.7 million in 2008-09 and $12.9 million in 2009-10. Provision for this funding has already been included in forward estimates.

    This measure continues funding for the 2001-02 Budget measure A better deal for people with disabilities.

    Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal — grant
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - -

    The Government will provide a one-off grant of $250,000 in 2005-06 to the Salvation Army’s 2006 Red Shield Appeal.

    Further information can be found in the press release of 31 March 2006 issued by the Prime Minister.

    Social and community impact recovery incident facility — establishment
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5

    The Government will provide $2.0 million over four years to establish a facility with ongoing staff to provide an immediate Australian Government response in the event of a disaster.

    The centre will coordinate responses to the public, work with appropriate Australian and State Government staff, oversight the implementation of Australian Government recovery assistance packages, and contribute to the development of recovery policies and plans.

    See also the related expense measure National Emergency Call Centre — establishment in the Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolio.

    Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT) recruitment
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2
    Department of Employment and Workplace Relations - - - -
    Total 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2

    The Government will provide training and development for applicants to the Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT) who have been identified as having the potential to be suitable for appointment at a cost of $2.2 million over the next four years. Applicants will receive training on the functions of the SSAT, administrative law and statutory decision-making. Of this funding, $1.3 million will be offset by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

    Solomon Islands — emergency assistance
    Expense ($m)
    2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10
    Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - - - -

    The Government will provide up to $90,000 in 2005-06 to reimburse the Queensland Government for meeting the living costs for Solomon Islanders who chose to accept assistance with their departure from the Solomon Islands between 19 and 21 April 2006. This measure includes a grant of $10,000 to the Townsville Migrant Resource Centre for costs incurred in accommodating the Solomon Islanders.

    This assistance is in addition to that provided through Emergency Management Australia, which reimbursed the living costs during the first ten days the Solomon Islanders were in Australia.

     

Miscellaneous