‘I get $433 just to drive my kids to school’
Francesca McFarlane considers herself pretty money savvy.
So when the 30-year-old from Cairns stumbled on a comment about a government-funded transport assistance scheme buried in a Facebook post she was following, she immediately wondered how it took her so long to find out about it.
"I stumbled on it by chance, I hadn't seen it on any government websites," Francesca told Kidspot.
What she had found was Queensland's School Transport Assistance Scheme, which offers subsidies to eligible families with full-time enrolled students for travelling to school - whether it be by car, bus, train or ferry.
Francesca applied online for the 2019 school year for her three children - aged six, eight and 10 - who attend a private independent school close to their home.
She didn't expect to receive much in return, if anything at all - given her home is 3.26 kilometres from her children's school. For the Queensland application, the minimum distance for eligibility is 3.2 kilometres - so she only scraped in by a whisker.
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"I really wasn't sure if I was going to get it because there is a public school closer to us, which is one of the questions on the form," Francesca said.
"But I put it in thinking that anything I get would be a bonus, maybe $100 maximum."
She got a lot more than that: a massive $433.20 in fact.
"After I did the form, I forgot about it then it popped up in my bank account a few weeks later," she said excitedly.
"Something that only took me 10 minutes has paid half my car rego for the year. It's just brilliant. The whole process was simple and very fast."
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Recently, Francesca was pleasantly surprised again to find a renewal notice in the mail for the 2020 school year - with all her information pre-filled from the original application.
"It means I don't have to apply each year, it will just rollover as long as I keep our details up to date with the form they sent. It took me a few seconds to update it and I mailed it back."
Now she hopes other parents will follow her example and try their luck with the similar programs offered by each State Government.
"I've told everyone about it. I wish I knew about it before my eldest was in year five, so I'll tell anyone who'll listen," she said.
"It's free money that no one knows about. People should know about it and take advantage of it. There's no reason not to do it."
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This story first appeared on Kidspot.com.au and has been republished with permission
Originally published as 'I get $433 just to drive my kids to school'