This act includes changes for various legislation and has been assented to, however this item is in regard purely to the changes that affect the Child Support legislation.
It is understood that CSA staff have or are due to attend training, which is for around 1 hour. It is unclear exactly when the changes will be used it is either January 6th or 8th 2009.
Overview of the changes
Changes have been made to the legislation regarding; Western Australia Ex-Nuptial Cases, the Level of Care, Reducing the Minimum Assessment to nil, Change of Assesment Reason 6, Prescribed Non-Agency payments and Other changes. It is believed that the changes
Western Australia Ex-Nuptial Cases
Basically it appears that the change is that there is no change other than the changes made in the Spring Act will not apply until the WA parliament adopts the changes.
Level of Care
This change removes the restriction that a level of care change must be 7.1% or more except in the case of when such a change would move in or out of the 14% threshold.
That is a change in the level of care of less than 7.1% can now be recognised where the change is the result of a court order an oral agreement or a parenting plan. It appears that the 7.1% rule may apply if the level of care change is due to actual care.
The changed legislation also reduces restrictions in regard to notification of level of care changes. The previous legislation could only apply the change from the date of notification, the new legislation introduces a 28 day notification period, bringing it inline with the notification period for a relevant dependant child.
The new legislation also allows an extension, where the registrar is satisfied that there are special circumstances, of the 6 month Interim Care Determination review period.
There is also legislative clarification of how the Child Support Program will treat a change in the percentage of care where a parent ceases to provide 35% care of a child, bringing it in line with the single case concept.
Reducing the Minimum Annual Rate to Nil
Due to anomalies that can be introduced with a fixed period of 12 months, the new legislation now allows a parent to nominate either the whole or part of a child support period to be reduced to nil.
Change of Assessment Reason 6 (High costs of child care)
The new legislation removes the restriction that a parent must have at least 65% care to apply under this reason. This allows both parents to apply. The assumption could well be that that if one parent applies (or has applied) and was successful, that if the other parent has care then they may also be able to have grounds for a reason 6 change of assessment. Effectively it could lead to a fairer distribution of the costs of such special care. However a care level of at least 25% is required.
Perhaps the SPCA will still consider that this is unfair and not in line with the 14% level of care at which parents are considered to be contributing to the cost of care.
Prescribed Non-Agency Payments
This amendment clarifies the treatment of a prescribed non-agency payment based upon the circumstances that were present. It means that a payment made whilst a parent had at least regular care (14% or over) or where part of the ongoing liability is met by a lump sum payment, the non-agency payment will not be credited.
Departure Prohibition Orders
This amendment corrects the inadvertent removal of the CSA's ability to issue a DPO.
Publishing SSAT Decisions
This amendment will remove the secrecy provision preventing the SSAT decisions from being reported to the FaHCSIA secretary and may result in the publication of decisions.
Acceptance of agreements entered into during the Change of Assessment Process
This amendment is a correction and enables a SCO to consider the acceptance of a limited agreement for an amount that is less then the current formula.
Agreements entered into during the Change of Assessment process - court can set aside.
This amendment ensures that the court can set aside an agreement.
Acceptance of agreements entered into during the Change of Assessment process - provisional notional assessment
This amendment ensures that where an agreement is accepted during the change of assessment process, the original change of assessment application becomes an application for a change of assessment determination in relation to the resulting provisional notional assessment.
The amendments (not the changed legislation), including the non CS changes, can be found here Legislation Amendments
The PDF and Word versions are here :-