20 March 2023

'If you can afford a coffee for $6 a day you can afford $8 a week for a child - Nationals candidate Andrianna Benjamin

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Nationals MLC Wes Fang, Nationals candidate for Wagga Wagga Andrianna Benjamin and Nationals Senate leader Bridget McKenzie come together and back the Coalition election promise. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Just over a week out from the state election, Nationals candidate for the seat of Wagga Wagga Andrianna Benjamin was out spruiking the Coalition’s $850 million Kids Future Fund.

Backed by Nationals Senate leader Bridget McKenzie and MLC Wes Fang, Ms Benjamin assembled the media to discuss the election investment proposing that every child in NSW aged 10 and under in 2023 would be eligible for the account, which will open with a $400 starting payment from the Government.

Once 18, children would be able to withdraw from their fund (worth between $28,000 and $49,000 a child) for education and housing.

“Us Nats are looking after the future generation of our children and the $400 superfund is extremely important to our future,” Ms Benjamin said.

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Asked about the criticism of the scheme that requires parents to feed money into the account, Ms Benjamin rejected claims it burdens the poor and benefits the rich.

“It doesn’t, really. It’s only $8 a week. People are paying $6 for a coffee these days,” she said.

Asked whether every family in New South Wales could afford the payments that add up to $400 a year per child, Ms Benjamin said: “Of course … absolutely. It’s all about budgeting and knowing how to manage your finances well.

“It’s important we act smart about this because this is the future … our pathway to what’s going to help our next generation succeed.”

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Mr Fang said steering children towards a lump sum of up to $49,000 gave them the ability into the future to look after themselves.

“We are really proud as Nats in Government and with our Liberal Party colleagues, we’re able to put this to the electorate if we’re re-elected … and we’ll be able to have this in place,” he said.

“For parents who aren’t able to make that contribution, we’ve made it possible for grandparents to make the contribution instead.

“We’re maximising the ways we can assist kids into the future … we’re trying to make it as broad and accessible as possible so that kids in New South Wales will be able to have a future once they reach the age of 18.”

Mr Fang said the Treasury had done the modelling so the NSW Government could afford the policy into the future.

“We’ve not picked a figure out of the air. It’s been modelled, targeted and designed in such a way that there is maximum participation,” he said.

Senator McKenzie said it was fantastic to be back in Wagga to support the Nationals candidate.

“It’s a practical and pragmatic response to the issues that so many young Australians find, whether it’s the housing crisis or getting a better education, and you might be 18 or 19 and want to own your own business,” she said.

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