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Child support reform: Mums fuming

The alleged quote by Barry Williams is a misquote by the journalist.  Barry has issued this correction:
Barry Williams said
Correction, I did not say it was "a big win for men". What I said was it's a good change for all concerned.
The Daily Telegraph
10 March 2008

Child support reform: Mums fuming
By Kelvin Bissett

The biggest overhaul of the nation's child support system in 20 years is just months away - and women's groups are fuming.

Between now and May, the 1.5 million parents with a financial relationship through the Child Support Agency are being notified by mail of their new payment arrangements, to take effect from July 1.

According to Sole Parents Union of Australia's Kathleen Swinbourne, most mums will be furious at the news they get in the post.

Stripped back to the basics, the reforms mean reduced payments to support children living with resident parents. And that is usually mums.

From July 1, child support payments will no longer be based on straight percentages of income from the non-resident parents, usually fathers.

Under that system, dads earning more than $100,000 a year were paying up to $10,000 per child to support offspring from a first marriage.

Instead, payments will be arrived at with a new formula that at first glance makes the Income Tax Assessment Act look as simple as a script for the teen soapie Home and Away.

The new payment formula takes into account incomes from both parents after deducting an initial sum, $18,252, for "self-support" for each.

The childcare payment is then calculated based on the age of the child, whether there are other children from a second relationship and time each parent spends caring for a child.

Coupled with this are changes in the treatment of the Family Tax Benefit, which mean the non-resident parent must provide care for about a third of the year to receive a portion.

Ms Swinbourne said last night that the changes were just the latest big cave-in to the resurgent men's rights lobby. The legal and financial rights of women after relationship breakdown are firmly in retreat, she said. They follow 2006 Family Law Act amendments in 2006 that urges judges to consider "equal time" child custody.

Ms Swinbourne said her biggest concern with the July 1 changes was that non-custodial parents were to be induced financially into seeing their children.

Child support payments reduce sharply where children spend two to four nights a fortnight, or 52 to 127 nights a year, with their non-resident parent.

Lone Fathers Association of Australia president Barry Williams, a fathers' rights lobbyist, acknowledged the reforms were a big win for men, especially the move to base payments on incomes of both parents.

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