Child Support Reforms To Deliver Fairer System
The Australian Government today announced a major overhaul of the Child Support Scheme, which aims to deliver a system that acts in the best interests of children.
In announcing the Government’s response to the Ministerial Taskforce on Child Support, Families Minister Mal Brough thanked Professor Patrick Parkinson and his taskforce for their work on the independent report, In the Best Interests of the Children.
Mr Brough said the reforms were the most significant in the 18-year history of the scheme and will affect around 1.4 million parents and more importantly, 1.1 million children.
“Australians using the Child Support Scheme know first hand that the current system does not treat children equally and does not work in the best interests of families,” Mr Brough said.
“These changes aim to reduce conflict between separated parents and, in particular, encourage shared parenting by introducing a system that is fairer and puts the needs of children first.”
The reforms will be introduced in three stages from July 1 this year.
Among the key changes:
- A new child support formula which reflects the true cost of raising children in Australia, that shares the cost between parents based on their respective incomes and better balances the needs of first and second families.
- The minimum child support payments will rise from $5 to $6 and will be indexed annually to ensure it keeps pace with inflation.
- The Child Support Agency will increase its actions against parents who failed to support their children.
- Parents will be able to have child support decisions reviewed by the Social Security Appeals Tribunal and for many parents this will mean not having to resort to the courts when a dispute occurs.
“Importantly, the new formula reflects the value of shared parental responsibility and treats children more equally,” Mr Brough said.
“While it will take some time to roll out such significant legislative changes, involving complex and sensitive issues, the Government will begin the process immediately.
“There are two pieces of legislation and it is my intention to introduce them in the winter and spring session of Parliament this year.”
Further information about reform of the Child Support Scheme can be found on the website of the Australian Government Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, or by calling 1800 050 020.