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Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Improving Child Support

“Improved child care arrangements announced in the budget will promote better relationships between separated parents and encourage them to maintain contact with their children after separation,” said Community Services Minister Larry Anthony.

“These arrangements cover allowing extra income to be excluded from child support assessments and helping separated partners improve their relationship and parenting skills.

“They introduce a fairer recognition of the responsibilities of both parents to get the best outcome for children.

“Research suggests that better post-separation relationships lead to better outcomes for children,” said Mr Anthony. “It has also been shown that the continued involvement of both parents in the lives of their children results in improved child support payment rates.”

The changes to child support arrangements include:

  • A pilot program to help non-resident parents improve post separation relationships and parenting skills. This will give access to parenting skills training, peer support, relationship management help, legal advice and financial counselling.
  • Incorporating a specific, transparent allowance for caring for a child for between 10 per cent and 30 per cent of the nights of the year into the child support formula.
  • Aligning the measure of average weekly earnings, which sets the upper limit on payer taxable income used in their child support assessment, with that used for the payee’s disregarded income amount.
  • Allowing a child support payer to apply to the Child Support Agency to have income from a second job, regular overtime or other additional income excluded from their child support assessment. Several specific criteria will need to be met before income exclusion will be considered.
  • Letting payers with second families claim 100 per cent of child support paid as a deduction from the household income used for determining Family Tax Benefit and Child Care Benefit entitlements.

“These measures will improve the Child Support Scheme in a balanced way, resulting in a fairer scheme,” said Mr Anthony.

“Separated parents will benefit from improved post-separation relationships and fairer recognition of their parenting responsibilities.

“A fairer scheme benefits all – parents and children.”

Endnote: The way that the GST affects Budget estimates, accounting statements and appropriations is described in Budget Paper No.4