GRASSROOTS FINANCE: Pat Walker, with her children Austin and Monique, says amid the complication of the Federal Budget, the School Kids Bonus could prove useful for the family budget.
GRASSROOTS FINANCE: Pat Walker, with her children Austin and Monique, says amid the complication of the Federal Budget, the School Kids Bonus could prove useful for the family budget. David Sparkes GLAWALK

Mum hopes bonus will help

JUST like the rest of us, Pat Walker doesn't claim to be an expert on the Federal Budget, but the mother of three knows what helps.

The latest Federal Budget, announced yesterday, scrapped the Education Tax Refund and replaced it with the School Kids Bonus.

Under the old system, parents could keep their receipts for school items such as laptops and claim up to half that amount on their tax return.

Under the new system, a set cash payment will be paid directly into parents' bank accounts twice a year.

Ms Walker said she would wait to see how the new system works, but liked the Education Tax Refund.

"Who wouldn't?" she said.

"It comes in handy.

"With the high school students, if I was to buy them a laptop I would keep the receipt and (the refund) goes toward it.

"It did make a difference (to the family budget)."

While Ms Walker liked the previous system, she can see the sense in the government's new scheme, which aims to simplify the process and does away with the need for receipts.

Politicians seem obsessed these days with arguing about who is most "family friendly".

Ms Walker said it was difficult to say if the Federal Government was doing a good job for families.

"Obviously it helps, especially these days. Hopefully this (new scheme) makes a difference and you don't have to stress about it," she said.

Ms Walker is not alone in saying the Federal Budget is a complicated topic for the general public to understand.

She has noticed the cost of living putting a strain on many families' budgets.

"We've learnt to budget. Every bit counts," she said.

"It is hard, especially in Gladstone. I've noticed prices have gone up. Rent, everything.

"But you learn to manage."

 

What is it?

Families entitled to Family Tax Benefit A will get $410 for each child in primary school and $820 for each child in high school. The government says the payment will be received by 1.3 million families, about 1 million more than are currently claiming the Education Tax Refund.