Baby bonus coming to an end after Senate passes changes

THE baby bonus will cease to exist from March next year after the changes received bipartisan support in the Senate on Thursday.

Former treasurer Wayne Swan announced in the May budget the baby bonus was being abolished and replaced with new family payments.

Families eligible for Family Tax Benefit Part A will receive an additional $2000 for their first child and $1000 for subsequent children to help with upfront costs, but only if they are not accessing the Government's Paid Parental Leave scheme.

It will be paid as an initial instalment of $500, with the rest rolled into normal fortnightly payments over a three-month period.

From Monday and up until March 1 next year the baby bonus will reduce to $3000 for second and subsequent children, a move announced in October's Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

Changes to the Paid Parental Leave scheme "work test", designed to make it easier for working mothers with children born close together to qualify for Paid Parental Leave for subsequent children, also passed the Senate.

The changes were contained in amendments to the Family Assistance and Other Legislation Bill.

Families Minister Jenny Macklin said the changes "more closely reflect the essential upfront costs of having a baby and better target assistance now that Australia has a national paid parental leave scheme".