Stretched to the limit

CASH-STRAPPED families have been left out-of-pocket after the federal government scrapped the Schoolkids Bonus.

Salvation Army officer Chris Philpot said there was a high number of people seeking assistance for school related costs. He said this was unusual at this time of the year and was most likely a result of the scrapping of the bonus.

RISING COSTS: Layla, 12, front left, Malakye, 5, Zahn, 8, Delaney, 12, Saith, 3, Indianna-Lei, 10, and Phoenix, 5, with mum Hayley Baulch.

RISING COSTS: Layla, 12, front left, Malakye, 5, Zahn, 8, Delaney, 12, Saith, 3, Indianna-Lei, 10, and Phoenix, 5, with mum Hayley Baulch.

Koroit mother-of-seven Hayley Baulch will miss out on $3000 a year to help cover the costs of education.

Ms Baulch said the rising cost of living including groceries, child care and school fees made it tough for big families.

The Schoolkids Bonus helped families with an injection of $856 for each child in secondary school each year and $430 for each child in primary school. “I normally try to work out our budget without including the payment and then it’s an extra bonus to help pay off fees or other bills quicker,” Ms Baulch said.

“However, I did find this year with my oldest starting high school and my twins starting prep that things are a lot tighter.”

Ms Baulch said in recent years she had found it difficult to keep up with the rising cost of child care.

This year she was accepted to a Bachelor of Early Childhood at Deakin University, but was forced to postpone her study.

“I just couldn’t afford it, so for this year it has been put on the back burner,” she said.

Ms Baulch hopes to return to study next year.

She is disappointed because she had hoped to be qualified by the time all of her children were at school.

Ms Baulch said she felt lucky because she had a good support system.

“Life would be much worse elsewhere, but in saying that, if the Schoolkids Bonus was reintroduced it would be a big help to lower income families,” she said.

Ms Baulch said she had not been working in recent years due to childcare costs, but she volunteers when she can and would love to return to work.

“Now that I only have one child at home, I’d love to get back to work again,” she said. 

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