The Hon. Kay Patterson, Senator for Victoria. Minister for Family and Community Services

Thousands of Australian families are being put into debt because they are unable to predict their taxable income a year in advance. Family Tax Benefits and Child Care Benefits are calculated on predictions of taxable income. Pay rises, working overtime or going back to work early after leave are not taken into account and often lead to debts in the THOUSANDS of dollars for already struggling families.

Income should be assessed on weekly earnings and updated quarterly so payments can be adjusted and debts not accrued.

Families should not have to pay back Benefits received when their salary was lower or they were not earning any money at all.

Do you know that the government can take your tax refund check to recover these "debts" without your prior knowledge or consent? This should NOT be allowed to happen.

Take this case study ( my own experience ). A mother takes the whole tax year off on maternity leave and makes a low estimate of income as she does not expect to go back to work until the following tax year. Ten months later money is very tight and work asks her to come back part-time. She agrees and notifies Centrelink immediately. Centr elink stops payments (Fair enough). Two months later she does her taxes. Her tax check is taken because she "owes" over $2500 in Family Tax Benefits overpayments because she earned more than her original estimate.

After ten months of struggling financially how is this affordable?

Why should we have to pay back Benefits received when we really needed them because our circumstances have changed?

How can we expected to plan our lives a year in advance and why should we be penalised for saving them money by going back to work?

Thousands of honest Australians are in debt because THE SYSTEM DOESN'T WORK.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this system I urge you to sign this petition or email Senator Kay Patterson and maybe we can make a change that will benefit all Australian families.

We believe that Family Tax Benefits, Child Care Benefits etc. should not be based on Taxable Income predicted a year in advance. Income assessments should be based on fortnightly earnings and updated Quarterly so that payments can be adjusted. Families should not have to repay Benefits they received when their income was lower and the Government should not be able to take a persons tax check without their prior knowledge and consent.

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The Stop Centrelink Creating Debt For Australian Families petition to The Hon. Kay Patterson, Senator for Victoria. Minister for Family and Community Services was written by Jodie Wells-Slowgrove and is in the category Government at GoPetition.