Protecting Australia’s children through reform of child support
The Turnbull Government today introduced legislation for important changes to improve child support processes.
The Government committed $12.4 million in the 2017-18 Budget towards addressing three priority recommendations in response to the 2015 From conflict to cooperation: Inquiry into the Child Support Program report by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs.
“The proposed changes in the Family Assistance and Child Support Legislation Amendment (Protecting Children) Bill deliver on this Budget commitment and are part of the Government’s phased approach to achieving the best possible outcome for separated families and their children,” Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said.
The measures address long-standing issues in the child support program relating to care disputes, amended tax assessments, child support agreements and payee overpayments, including:
- strengthening incentives to comply with court orders or participate in dispute resolution processes about care,
- enabling changes in circumstances to be more easily reflected in child support assessments without parents having to go to court or through onerous administrative processes, and
- aligning the recovery of overpaid child support from payees to be more consistent with the recovery of debts from payers.
“Any major changes to the child support system will affect the lives of many separated families and children,” Minister Porter said.
“That is why a phased and measured approach is in place to meet and implement the Government’s response.”
Minister for Human Services, Alan Tudge, said the measures in this Bill would assist in making child support assessments better reflect changing circumstances.
“The Child Support Program is a central part of social policy, and the Department of Human Services works with separated parents to transfer $3.5 billion to support approximately 1.2 million children,” Minister Tudge said.