The real costs associated with educating children will be addressed by the re-elected Coalition Government through a rebate program for school fees, uniforms, textbooks, computers and extra-curricula activities, Leader of the Nationals in the Senate, Senator Ron Boswell said today.
Senator Boswell said he had been very vocal recently within Government highlighting the increasing costs associated with many activities undertaken by children, particularly sport.
“Children are missing out on opportunities for a healthier more active lifestyle because of the rising costs associated with sport both through schools and through sporting associations,” Senator Boswell said.
“As part of the policy announced yesterday by the Prime Minister, costs associated with “extra curricula school activities including sport, dance, drama or music” can be included as eligible deductions to claim an annual rebate of up to $400 for primary students and $800 for secondary students.
Parents without a taxable income will be eligible for the full rebate, on presentation of their receipts either through the taxation department or through Centrelink. This rebate targets costs that parents are putting their hands in their pockets for today. Labor’s ‘lap top dream’ is not a realistic option for many families.
“As I move around the State, the issue of costs associated with school sport is often raised by parents in regional areas who point out even the cost of playing a neighbouring school’s cricket team can be hugely expensive due to the distances involved. Team involvement in inter-school carnivals any distance away can also become impossible.
“A recent example brought to my attention concerned a small rural centre where there is only one swimming pool in town operated by the local council. Participation in school swimming lessons, taken for granted by many in the city, cost families up to $5 per child per week, when the costs of bus fare and pool entry are combined. Compulsory School swimming lessons for the term for a family of three cost that family $135. This is an expense that many families just can’t afford, particularly at this time of year.
“So-called ‘voluntary contributions’ for vital equipment in State Government funded schools are also a large burden on many families. The guilt and recriminations for those families who can’t afford the ‘voluntary fee’, usually in the range of $75 per child to upgrade State School computers or provide air-conditioning or library books is un-Australian.
“It is these types of expenses that have parents of school age children constantly putting their hands in their pockets, which will be alleviated by the rebate.
“Parents, currently filling out book lists for next year and checking if their children have grown out of uniforms, will be secure in the knowledge that these items will attract the rebate from 1 January next year, if the Government is re-elected.
Senator Boswell said he was proud of his involvement in this issue, and the way that real policies benefiting regional Australians had been incorporated into the Governments plan for the future.
The Education tax rebate will cover a range of costs, including:
• government and non-government school fees;
• preschool fees and expenses;
• school uniforms;
• text books, stationery, calculators;
• camps and excursions;
• laptops, broadband and software; and
• extra-curricula school activities, such as sports, music, dance and drama.
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