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Commonwealth Ombudsman highlights serious failings in Australias child support system

Commonwealth Ombudsman highlights serious failings in Australias child support system

Separated parents are avoiding lodging tax returns  for up to a decade  a bid to shield themselves from paying thousands of dollars in child-support payments.

The Commonwealth Ombudsmen has catalogued a series of systemic problems in Australias child support system, some of which are leaving parents caring for children significantly out of pocket.

Worrying examples of clerical errors, computer system problems, failures by staff to act on information and botched administration are laid bare in a submission to the Abbott governments parliamentary inquiry into the child support regime.

Commonwealth Ombudsman Colin Neave, who received 1700 complaints about the system last year alone, has told the government he is raising these examples to highlight areas for potential improvement, rather than to suggest that there is any large scale failure in administration.

His submission details more than 20 examples where the Child Support agency has let down Australian parents, including;
  • A failure by the Child Support to take an active role in establishing the correct income of a father who owed child support but failed to submit his tax return for ten years, resulting in his partner receiving lower than appropriate payments.[*/]
  • The agencys failure to set up wage and salary deductions on the repeated request of a mother who was owed more than $5,000 in child support payments, despite being provided with information about where the her former partner worked and his pay slip number, until the Ombudsman intervened in the case.[*/]

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