The Abbott government has called for a parliamentary inquiry into how the child support system works, including links between it and the Family Court.
The last Coalition government, the Howard government, held a historic parliamentary inquiry into the child custody system that led to widespread changes including shared parenting.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs has announced it has commenced a new inquiry into the Child Support Program, as requested by the Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews.
It has been charged with looking at under or over payments, and enforcement options for payments, flexibility for families, and providing the best options for children in conflict situations, how the program fits with mediation and Family Assistance frameworks, and links between the child support program and the Family Court.
The committee has created an anonymous, online questionnaire for individuals to complete, giving anyone with an experience of the Child Support Program the opportunity to make a personal contribution to the inquiry.
More info to follow…
George Christensen, the Chair saidThe Child Support Program assists families at moments of great stress, and it is designed to focus on the needs and costs of children. The Committee wants to look at the way it operates to ensure that it works for all families, and to see if it is flexible and supportive enough to deal with the range of different family situations
We want to hear from individuals about their experiences, and that is why we have created a comprehensive online questionnaire. I would encourage everyone who has a personal experience of the Child Support Program to go online and tell us their story. This kind of information will be crucial to our understanding of how the program operates in reality.
The Minister for Social Services, the Hon Kevin Andrews MP, asked a Parliamentary Committee to inquire into and report on the Child Support Program.
The committee has created a survey for people that have had experience with the CSA as per details below - it must be noted that to ensure your message is heard properly you will need to keep your language moderate and structure your answers succinctly.
DIDSS encourages anyone who has had experience with the CSA (good and not so good) to complete the survey.
The Committee has created an online questionnaire for individuals to complete. The questionnaire enables people with an experience of the Child Support Program to make a personal contribution to the inquiry, and will enable the Committee to understand the individual experiences of a broad range of people. You must be over 18 years old to complete the questionnaire, and it will take up to 20 minutes of your time.
The questionairre is available here
The Committee will be holding hearings in many Australian cities, which will be open to the public.
As part of its hearings, the Committee will be holding community statement sessions, at which individuals may make short statements to the Committee about the inquirys terms of reference.
The Committee is seeking submissions to the inquiry from stakeholder groups and experts. Submissions directly addressing the terms of reference should be forwarded to the Committee no later than Friday 13 June 2014. Online submissions can be made.
Individuals who wish to make a submission to the inquiry should be aware that the Committee cannot investigate individual cases or complaints. Submissions should not include personal details. If you wish to share your personal experiences with the Committee, please complete the online questionnaire.
Link to the Parliamentary inquiry