Over the next two years the Australian Government will undertake a major reform of the Child Support Scheme in order to deliver a system that acts in the best interests of children. As part of the reforms in January 2007, the Government will expand the role of the Social Security Appeals Tribunal to include an independent review of Child Support Agency decisions. This will improve the consistency and transparency of Agency decisions and will provide a mechanism of review that is inexpensive, fair, informal and quick.
As well, in order to simplify the relationship between the Courts and the new Child Support Scheme, the Government will:
- improve access by parents to Court enforcement of debt arrangements;
- increase the powers of the Court seeking information and evidence in relation to enforcement action to the same level of the Child Support Registrar; and
- provide the Courts with increased powers to make appropriate interim arrangements for child support matters.
Until now, there has been no mechanism for external administrative review of Child Support decisions except through the courts.
The reforms of the Child Support Scheme are extensive and will be implemented in three stages over a two year period. Stage 1, commencing in July 2006, includes a number of changes such as increasing the minimum payment. Stage 2 (January 2007) includes the introduction of an independent administrative review of Child Support Agency decisions and the major formula changes will occur in Stage 3, July 2008.
This measure will be implemented as part of Stage 2 of the Child Support Reforms in January 2007.
Total Government Funding
The Government will provide $56.9 million over four years.