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Motion to make the Baby Bonus ‘kick in’ when the costs kick in

In my absence (a bit crook late yesterday, so I did not stay for the final day of the LNP Convention) thanks to Bec, one of our Young LNP delegates, for making the case this morning for this small but helpful adjustment to the federal ‘Baby Bonus’ policy. It passed without any opposition. And if it is implemented under an Abbott government, it can stand in tribute to Elise and James, patients of mine (and family friends) who first showed me how difficult it is to make the preparations for a first baby when you are short of money.

This, I understand, is roughly what Bec said:

THE MOTION: Baby Bonus
That this Convention of the LNP resolves, when in Government federally, to reschedule the Baby Bonus to begin several weeks prior to birth, so that the onset of support aligns with the onset of costs associated with preparing for the baby.
The problem for some young couples facing a first baby is that the cost of preparing for their baby starts well before birth, but the support that comes with the Baby Bonus does not start until after birth. For example, they have to buy the cot and other nursery supplies as well as the car capsule before they bring the baby home from the hospital, and women with a job need to stop working a few weeks before having the baby… For some couples on very limited income, this is a challenge – so this motion would adjust the administration of the Baby Bonus so that it commences a few weeks prior to the baby arriving, which is when the costs kick in.
We have put this proposal to some young mothers in Toowoomba, and the response is always positive. They feel that this adjustment to the Baby Bonus would be very useful for young couples with limited spare cash. It will allow them to prepare for their first baby without going into debt.
This motion does not involve any new costs to government; it just brings the existing payments earlier by a few weeks. At present, expectant mothers can register for the Baby Bonus at 28 weeks of pregnancy, and a fortnightly instalment commences shortly after birth. The first instalment is $879 and then there are 12 fortnightlyinstalments of $379, totalling about $5000. Under our proposal, the department would still register mothers at 28 weeks but then start the fortnightly payments at about 34 weeks. That is just before an employed woman has to give up work. It is also early enough to come in time for most premature babies.
Some people have asked what would happen if there was a stillbirth after 28 weeks, but that is already allowed for in the current Baby Bonus, which is paid in the event of a stillbirth after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 20 weeks is the cut-off because that is the age at which a baby requires a Birth Certificate and a Death Certificate in all states.
We hope the Convention supports this small but helpful policy adjustment for the Baby Bonus.

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