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 this the Government will implement a significant communication campaign to explain what the changes are, when they will occur and how families will be affected.
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 across all three Stages of the reforms, with the largest component preceding Stage 3. Information will be made available:
- to the general public at the time of announcement (February 2006);
- to parents who will be directly affected by payment changes prior to Stage 1, July 2006;
- when the legislation is passed;
- through a large-scale communication campaign prior to and throughout the implementation of Stage 3 reforms in 2007/08; and
- as well, parents will be advised of their new child support assessments in May/June of 2008 following the collection of necessary additional information.
Total Government Funding
The Government will provide $36.1 million over five years for the communication strategy.