Opposition already planning cuts

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton.  
					        Photo: Contributed
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton. Photo: Contributed
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Photo provided

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Photo provided

DUBBO families who benefit from the Schoolkids Bonus may need to look elsewhere with the scheme planned to face the chopping block if the Liberal party win at the next election, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has announced.

The 12-month-old $1.23 billion Gillard government scheme provides families with $410 for each child in primary school and $820 for each child in high school, a program it argues helps with education costs.

In the Sydney Morning Herald Mr Abbott said the bonus was "not going to happen under a Coalition government because it's a cash splash with borrowed money that has nothing to do with education."

Member for Parkes Mark Coulton agreed with Mr Abbott, and said the bonus was not a well-managed scheme.

"It's important for people to realise right from the start that the financial affairs of Australia need to be put in order," he said.

"Over $5 million are getting paid into accounts with no conditions."

The Parkes MP said most of Australia needed to live "within their means", and the money they were getting now would be going to many other costs.

"Electricity prices are going up with the carbon tax, there have been changes in the BER (Building the Education Revolution)," Mr Coulton said.

"The Schoolkids Bonus is a cash splash. I don't know if families put their $900 stimulus package to good use at the time.

"It seems that Tony Abbott is forecasting what will happen and it's very presumptuous to assume there will be a change in federal government this year. I imagine they would be looking at axing the scheme after the election."

The Gillard government said the Schoolkids Bonus went to 1.3 million Australian families with children at school. It is available to families receiving the Family Tax Benefit Part A plus students receiving Youth Allowance and some other income support and veterans' payments.

The Coalition has previously flagged its opposition to the bonus in its current form, arguing its preference for the old system where families had to provide receipts to be reimbursed for educational expenses, like school books and uniforms.

Mr Abbott made his announcement to the National Press Club on Thursday, although cautioned not to by a senior adviser. The next federal election will be held on Saturday, September 14.


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