April 5th, 2009 at 02:53pm
From Adelaide’s Sunday Mail:
UP to 340,000 students across Australia are set to pocket a $1850 double bonus from the Federal Government because of a stimulus package loophole.
Under the hastily drawn up economic rescue package, full-time students and apprentices from age 16 will receive a $950 one-off stimulus payment – with those also holding down part-time jobs while studying double dipping for a further $900.
The flaw will blow a $300 million hole in the stimulus budget and some students have told the Sunday Mail they plan to use the unexpected windfall to head overseas.
Many families will also receive multiple payments under the scheme, with the average family $3800 better off.
More than 1.36 million Australian families already have qualified for the Single Income Family Bonus and another 1.4 million have qualified for Back to School Bonus payments, with some people qualifying for both.
I assume that the only reason this has become a bigish news story today is because of the $300 million figure, because the story certainly isn’t new. I clearly recall the fact that many people will receive multiple payments being a big part of the news stories back when the stimulus package was being debated in parliament.
In fact, the story even goes on to say almost exactly that:
Senator Xenophon said he raised the issue during the Senate inquiry into the Government’s economic package.
“They said that they were aware of it, but couldn’t change the system to prevent the doubling up,” he said.
“So some people have got extra payments because of the way the system works. This is what happens when you rush something through and it’s by no means ideal.”
It’s an interesting story, but it’s a regurgitation of something we knew a long time ago. And if you think the $300 million makes it newsworthy regardless…well, seriously, what’s another $300 million when Lindsay Tanner is predicting, as reported by AAP today, a $100 billion (yes, with a B) deficit or higher over the next three years? Why it’s a mere 0.3%.
I wonder what I could do with that 0.3%?