Beware… Rant ahead


I rarely rant on my blog. I don’t think it’s fair you see me wear my heart on my sleeve.

However, I am so angry, I am going to.

And, I know a lot of you who read this are country people. You will understand how difficult it is to educate kids from where we all live. You may have had a similar experience, or I might be able to stop you from going through what we’ve just found out.

Late last year, we bought a house in town. Our youngest is about to start high school and he has a form of autism. The change from a tiny 80-odd student school to a huge 900-odd kid school would have been massive for him. To throw boarding away on top of that, well, it may have caused far too many issues for him. So, we made the call that I would go to town for six months, while he settled into high school and then we would try boarding.

We hunted high and low until we found the perfect house.

We bought this perfect house and claimed the First Home Buyers Grant as we were encouraged to do. As most of you would know, this is a $7,000 grant plus if the house is under a certain amount (I can’t remember how much) you get the stamp duty back.

This is the first part of my rant: We saved for this house and didn’t need a financial institution to help us.

That was the WRONG thing to do – we have been penalised greatly for this. Firstly, we had to claim BACK the stamp duty (which we still haven’t received nearly four months on) and we had to apply to get the $7,000 to be transferred to us. There is also another grant we could have got through using a registered Real Estate Agent, but because there WASN’T a bank involved, we WEREN’T entitled to it. WTF?

Please note: We bought this house to help our kids. That was the only reason. Neither The Boss or I are particularly happy about me being in town for a big chunk of next year, but it’s for our kids so we’re going to do it.

Second part of rant: Being further than 57km away from our local high school, kids are entitled to some funding under the Isolated Children’s section of Centrelink. I went to apply for the kids and was told that because we had been granted the First Home Owners money we weren’t entitled to claim that funding. Again, WTF?

Now the reasoning behind this is because when you claim the first home owners grant, it is your primary place of residency. If you are claiming Isolated Children’s Funding, the house you live in has to be your SECONDARY place of residency.

I guess you could say I didn’t research it enough. Sure, I accept that. But I can tell you I had NO IDEA that something was like could happen. Especially when all we are trying to do, is the right thing by the kids.

So anyone who is thinking about doing something similar, please make sure you get the info from both Centrelink and The First Home Owners Office, because we’ve been shafted “six ways to breakfast” as my Papa would have said. Our quick calculations is that we have probably given up nearly $20,000 by not being able to apply for the  Isolated Children’s funding. For a $7,000 grant it’s certainly not worth it. The only thing which might make it bare able is when the government decides to hand over the stamp duty we’re due.

So, in summary: DON’T SAVE every cent for your house. Make sure you borrow SOME AMOUNT, no matter how small.

Don’t expect Centrelink to help out when you’re trying to do the best thing for your kids. You’ll get shafted.

Your welcome.

Have you had a similar experience? If you have, I’d LOVE to hear from you.





Comments 6

  1. Thank you for sharing this. In the future we may need to do the same thing – a son with similar needs. This may be the best option. Honestly I just wish the high school which is closish would gets its act together and start providing decent programs for kids that are able. That way it wouldn’t be a problem. Really hope that the transition to high school is smooth and that the stay isn’t too long

  2. Good to know, thanks for sharing. Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know and it’s a nasty way to find out!

  3. I can hear your frustration. We are at a similar stage with kids at high school, and my husband will be spending much of this year away from the farm to be with our daughter who will be in year eleven. He has enrolled in a course himself to make the most of the experience.
    We have been told we will get some assistance, but that hasn’t been tested yet. I hope we don’t run into problems like you have.
    I don’t think city dwelling families would have any idea of what country families have to endure to put their kids through school.
    Best wishes for your transition to town and high school. I hope it all goes well.

  4. Oh Fleur! I have had a run in with Centrelink recently but not under the same circumstances. I am studying full time through correspondence and apparently I am not able to claim any payment help which I don’t understand at all. Because I am living away from home (in an isolated area) and I can only work part time (due to uni commitments) it is very hard to stay on top of my costs. What I can’t quite comprehend is someone who is living in the city, staying at uni and works less hours than me but studies the same amount of hours can claim help. How the dickens does that work?! I haven’t found Centrelink to be very helpful at all throughout the debacle. They really do need to give you more information on everything, Its like they are trying to purposely rip you off by either taking your money or in my circumstance not giving you any. I hope you are feeling a little bit better after your rant.

  5. Pingback: Centrelink and me | Fleur McDonald

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