Deputy Leader of The Nationals in the Senate, Fiona Nash (second from left), visited Lismore yesterday to discuss the Coalition’s Education Tax Rebate policy with Nationals candidate for Page Kevin Hogan, Lisa Speechley of Rosebank, Melissa Bennett of Alstonville, and Mr Hogan’s wife Karen.
Deputy Leader of The Nationals in the Senate, Fiona Nash (second from left), visited Lismore yesterday to discuss the Coalition’s Education Tax Rebate policy with Nationals candidate for Page Kevin Hogan, Lisa Speechley of Rosebank, Melissa Bennett of Alstonville, and Mr Hogan’s wife Karen. CATHY ADAMS

Parents praise student grants

PARENTAL pride costs a bundle.

Alstonville mum Melissa Bennett said she and her partner moved from western NSW to the Northern Rivers four years ago to provide more opportunities for their four children.

The kids have leapt at the opportunities, but the financial pressure of funding one high-achieving triathlete and two aspiring members of the Australia Ballet is intense.

(The youngest child has limited her high-achieving efforts to becoming a world-class flautist, courtesy of mum’s old flute and free music lessons at school.)

So it’s not surprising Ms Bennett was yesterday enthusiastic about the Coalition’s increased student grants, which would let her claim the cost of the girls’ ballet lessons and costumes and her 14-year-old son’s sporting expenses back on tax.

Ms Bennett and Rosebank mum Lisa Speechley yesterday joined Page Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan and Nationals Senator Fiona Nash in Lismore to spruik the policy, which would give parents back on tax up to $1000 per secondary school student and $500 per primary school child.

Labor’s policy, introduced after the 2007 election and recently expanded by Prime Minister Julia Gillard,allows parents to claim up to $779 for secondary students and $390 for primary students for expenses such as computers, internet connections, textbooks, stationery and uniforms.

The Coalition’s policy, which Labor claims would cost about $1.4 billion, rather than the $760 million forecast by Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, covers the same items, along with broader expenses such as private school fees, excursions, private tutoring, extra curricular activities such as sport, dance and drama lessons, and even school photos.



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