Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Government responds to ‘Watershed’ Child Custody Report

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Phillip Ruddock MP, Attorney-General

The Government today tabled its response to the watershed report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family and Community Affairs on child custody, Every Picture Tells A Story.

The Government has responded comprehensively to the Committee’s recommendations with:

  • a commitment of $397 million over four years in the 2005-06 Budget, the biggest ever investment in the family law system
  • establishment of the Child Support Taskforce which recently reported to Government
  • major changes to the Family Law Act released as an exposure draft today.

The impact of family breakdown on the Australian community, particularly children, is significant.

Every Picture Tells A Story highlighted the depth of feeling in the community about family breakdown, drawing on the more than 2000 submissions received by the inquiry. The Government thanks the Committee for its hard work and excellent report which provided the catalyst for far-reaching reforms.

The Government has listened and responded comprehensively – instigating the most significant changes to the family law system in 30 years.

The Government’s package of family law reform is designed to bring about a cultural change in the way family breakdowns are handled. The Government is providing support for families at every stage of their relationships including pre-marriage services, help to keep families together and support for separating families.

The Government’s package includes a new network of 65 centres for family relationships, which is the centrepiece of the reforms. These centres will be a new front door to the family law system, including services that help to strengthen families and reduce conflict.

An exposure draft of the proposed changes to the law has also been released today. The Government’s response to the report and the exposure draft are available at