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Family welcomes students bonus

Larisa Barnes and Colin Cussel, with their children Emanuella and Shoshana Cussel-Barnes, say the student bonus from Tuesday’s budget is a good move.
Larisa Barnes and Colin Cussel, with their children Emanuella and Shoshana Cussel-Barnes, say the student bonus from Tuesday’s budget is a good move. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

FATHER-of-five Colin Cussel and his wife Larisa Barnes plan to buy a new computer for their five-year-old daughter Shoshana with the schoolkids bonus announced in the Federal Budget.

The bonus will be a paperwork-free payment that will give 1.3 million Australian families assistance with education costs.

Most families will receive $410 for primary school children and $820 for high school students. It replaces the education tax refund that required families to collect receipts.

Mr Cussel said he would have claimed the tax refund anyway because he was vigilant in keeping education spending receipts.

But the new system would make claiming the money much easier.

After raising three adult children, for the first time in a decade Mr Cussel is again contending with the considerable costs of education now that he has a child in kinder- garten and another two-year-old in day care.

He is paying more than $2000 a year for private school fees plus day care costs and additional expenses for sport and after-school activities. The self-employed osteopath said it meant his family had to make spending cutbacks.

"It adds up but it's not too bad," he said. "For us it was easier because the home loan had been paid off..

"We live a modest life and budget carefully and I'm not trying to increase my income so I can spend more.

"I'm more about quality of life not quantity of money."

He said overall he was pleased with the Federal Budget as it delivered a surplus and returned money to families.

The bonus payment was the topic of hot debate yesterday after the Coalition indicated it would oppose it in the Parliament.

Despite that, the payment passed the Lower House with the support of independents Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, Andrew Wilkie and Bob Katter, as well as Greens MP Adam Bandt.

The bonus payment still has to get through the Sen- ate, but will do that easily with Greens support.

Page MP Janelle Saffin said about 2700 families in her electorate were missing out on their full refund each year under the former tax deduction system.

Topics:  families, federal budget, schoolkids bonus


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