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A fairer Child Support Scheme begins


Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig Minister for Human Services

A fairer Child Support Scheme begins

The biggest overhaul of the Australian system of child support in 20 years comes into effect tomorrow, Tuesday July 1.

"The new scheme has been a gradual and careful reform process, taking a total of four-and-and-half years from conception to full implementation," Minister for Human Services, Senator Joe Ludwig, said.

"Around 1.5 million separated parents and more than 1.1 million children are affected."

"The most significant change is a new formula used to calculate child support payments."

"It's a fairer and more balanced formula, based on the actual cost of raising children in today's society," Senator Ludwig said.

"The three-stage reform was extensively researched, before it passed through Parliament under the previous Government with bipartisan support."

"The new Scheme aims to meet the best interests of children, reduce conflict between parents and ensure child support is paid in full and on time."

"The new scheme treats both parents' incomes equally, takes into account the level of care parents provide for their children and treats children from first and second families in a similar way."

"Under the new scheme, parents will also be able to ask that additional income earned after separation be excluded from their child support assessment for up to three years to help them re-establish themselves."

"Child support is a sensitive emotional and financial area of understandable, strong interest to those involved."

"There have been considerable changes to Australian society since the Child Support Scheme was created 20 years ago," Senator Ludwig said.

"The reforms were the result of two-and-half years of research, feedback and review before the first phase began operating in July 2006."

"It's now been another two years and the third stage of the reform package is coming into effect."

"The Child Support Agency is keen to identify and address any customer concerns relating to the new Scheme."

"The CSA encourages customers to contact them if they have questions about their new child support assessment," Senator Ludwig said.

"The Child Support Agency works hard to support separated parents to transfer payments for the benefit of their children."

"The CSA's vision is that: 'Children can rely on their parents for the financial and emotional support necessary for their well-being'."

"The new scheme is an important part of achieving that goal."

"On average, 85,000 new child support cases are registered with the CSA each year," Senator Ludwig said.

To help newly separated parents understand the child support system the CSA has published a new booklet called the Parent's Guide to Child Support.

Separated parents can view detailed information about the new Scheme, and those with simple cases can obtain an estimate of their child support and family assistance payments using the online Child Support-Family Assistance estimator, on the CSA website

The Minister recently launched CSA's first compliance strategy to outline how parents are supported to meet their child support responsibilities.

Background on Separated Parents and Eligible Children by State
Separated parents and eligible children by state, April 2008

StateSeparated Parents ReisteredEligible Children
NSW 440,539 340,514
Vic 319,344 244,665
Qld 323,671 246,254
SA 117,182 87,740
Tas 39,618 31,445
ACT 21,365 15,599
WA 143,806 107,378
NT 14,637 10,824
International 69,169 39,442
Unknown 215 99

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