Hi Everyone,

Its not everyday that I choose to write about, or petition, good folks like yourself to matters like today’s topic. I would implore you to read the following post and sign the petition linked below. If the HOMs (Higher Order Multiples- Triplets or more), don’t get this, then the government ‘don’t get this’……make a difference in your community today, sign and say NO to these cuts to family that desperately need this allowance.

I personally know as a parent to Twins what the financial struggles have been, how parents with triplets, quintuplets or more do it is an absolute credit to them.

Sign the petition here —> http://tinyurl.com/jb66wle

To the Honourable Mr Porter M.P,

I would like to direct your personal attention to the possibilities of cuts to the ‘Higher Order Multiple Birth Allowance’ under the microscope for the upcoming round of budget cuts. For both yourself and other parents of single children, I would like to highlight just why this is even remotely unthinkable. This isn’t a money grab by multiple parents, this is desperately needed money to help a family survive.

Let’s take the set up the costs of just the big ticket items a parent of one child Vs a parent of triplets needs shall we?

Let’s just go for the basics…..

Single parent (average costs)
Cot: $375
Mattress: $80
Mobile: $30
Change table: $300
Pram: $600 – $850
High chair: $45 (IKEA)
Baby seat: $375
Chest of drawers: $800 – $1500

Total: $3,555.00 upfront

Triplet parent (average costs)
Cot: $1,125
Mattress: $240
Mobile: $90
Change table: $300
Pram: $2000+
High chair: $45 (IKEA) X 3 = $135
Baby seat: $1,125
Chest of drawers: $4500

Grand Total: $9,515 UPFRONT!

Now a triplet parent needs three (3) times just these essentials alone, which would come in at $9,515 and that isn’t including any renovation of the nursery room, bottles, possibility of upgrading a car to fit three children, needing 3 X the formula if required, three times the manchester, three times the toys….oh and daycare, don’t even get me started. Day care (if you can find a centre that will even take three children) is average $600 A WEEK AFTER THE 50% child care rebate for three children.

Can you imagine the introduction of three children into any household when most incomes go back to a single wage? You cannot simply filter items down to the next child like most parents can and will do. It would be awesome if HOMs could do this but it is simply impossible. I have respect for every parent out there be they a parent of a single child or multiples, yet the circumstances of each vary so dramatically that most cannot even contemplate these changes. Oh and please, don’t tell me that having three children 18-24 months apart is the same it’s not.

Can you even conceive how much these families miss out on because of the costs of doing something simple, like going out for dinner or imagine the costs of Private Health Insurance. That in itself is a whole other story!

AMBA and the entire Multiple Birth Community are concerned that this allowance will be removed by the Government in the upcoming May Budget.

The Australian Multiple Birth Association (AMBA) represents families with twins, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets and more across Australia. All of these types of births are referred to as a “multiple birth”, while triplets or more, are known as “Higher Order Multiples” (HOM). This is a way of distinguishing this minority within a minority; indeed, less than 1.5%* of multiples are HOMs.

HOM families receive a much needed Multiple Birth Allowance, from the Government, with a maximum amount of $3,920.10 per year for families with triplets or $5,219.50 per year for families with quadruplets or more.
Fewer than 1,000*** families in Australia receive this payment.

That’s less than $500,000 a year.

A previous Government’s recommendation was that the Allowance should be removed. This was met with despair by HOM families and AMBA members could not understand their rationale – Given what is known about the costs of children, there is little rationale for these extra payments.

The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling Studies (NATSEM) shows costs are decreasing for families for the second and subsequent children. This is based on the premise that items purchased for the first child are able to be passed onto subsequent children. This is not the case for multiple birth families. NATSEM also shows that the biggest increases to cost of living are in childcare and education – two areas of immediate expense where families with HOMs are unable to spread the cost.

“If a child costs $250,000 to raise in a family as a singleton until adult age, the costs are magnified when three or more children are born at the same time,” said AMBA’s Communications Director, Erin Sinclair.  “There are no hand-me-downs, and children can be actively disadvantaged over schooling options, attendance at after-school activities and camps” said, Ms Sinclair.

“We were really grateful that this change didn’t occur and it really adds credence to the Government’s support of families”, said Ms Sinclair.

“This week, we sent a letter to the Government asking them to understand how this Allowance assists HOM families and how the removal of the allowance will have a detrimental impact on them.” said Ms Sinclair.

AMBA have launched this Change.org petition to garner support from the broader community in support of HOM families. We highly recommend that you, as our paid sitting member to the community, take the above mentioned petition and knowledge to your cabinet and recommend these changes not be made. The disservice that looks like being pushed onto families in not need not is it warranted to those who didn’t ‘choose’ to be super parents of Triplets, Quadruplets, Quintuplets or more.

Yours sincerely,
The Australian Multiple Birth Community




*The most recent data available from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that in 2014, only 65 out of 4,316 multiple births were HOMs, from a total of 299,697 births (Births, 2014).
**The Allowance is only paid to HOM families who meet the income eligibility tests for Family Tax Benefit Part A. The Allowance is paid on a sliding scale depending on the family’s’ income.
***1,000 families is based on data from the 2008-09 Annual Report from the Department of Social Services, when it was FaHCSIA, as details about the Multiple Birth Allowance are not quoted in the current 2014-15 report.   The Annual Report states that there were 398,000 families receiving the FTB Part A and 950 were receiving the Multiple Birth Allowance.  This correlates with the fact that there would only ever be around 1,200 HOM families in Australia who had children under 18 at any one time.  This is based on an average of 69 HOM births per year since 2009.  Of course, not all of these families are eligible for the payment and 18 years of age is the cut-off for the payment if at least 3 of the children are senior secondary school children until the end of the calendar year in which the first born of those children turns 18 years of age.
**** http://www.ncoa.gov.au/report/phase-one/part-b/7-5-family-tax-benefits.html
***** http://www.ncoa.gov.au/report/appendix-vol-1/9-5-family-tax-benefit.html