Hockey confirms Coalition would scrap payments

A COALITION government would go one step further than the government and scrap the $2000 means-tested child payments to parents announced in last week's budget.

Treasurer Wayne Swan last week revealed the $5000 baby bonus would cease to exist from March next year, to be replaced by increasing Family Tax Benefit A payments by $2000 for a first child and $1000 for each subsequent child.

But parents who take up the government's Paid Parental Leave Scheme will not be eligible to claim the additional FTB money.

The measure is tipped to improve the budget bottom line by more than $1 billion over the forward estimates.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott described the measure as "objectionable" in his budget reply, but indicated the Coalition was likely to support it.

On Monday, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey said the watered down assistance for new parents would be scrapped altogether.

"As Tony Abbott said on Thursday night, we will not support new spending measures from the Labor government other than those we specifically identify, and that (new family payment) is not on the list," Mr Hockey said on ABC radio.

"And why? Because Labor has a really bad history of making spending commitments such as increasing family tax benefits or, in recent times, saying they were going to cut income tax again, and then actually not delivering it."

A Galaxy poll published on the weekend showed 64% of people supported Mr Swan's decision to effectively axe the baby bonus, which was introduced by the Coalition early last decade.


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