Several reviews and reports have not improved our child support system.What is the evidence for this statement? In the public child support system $1.6 billion of agreements are unpaid. We don’t know how many agreements may also be unpaid in the private collection system.
Among this unpaid fortune representing thousands of families, we know many primary care parents feel cheated and left to manage their growing children’s needs alone and supposed to pay parents feel burdened. The best interests of the children are seldom recognised.
We are asking for these three changes as a starting point:
1. Use all means available to enforce child support assessments.
The current child support formula does not recognise the real costs of raising children. Compounding that, the amount due to the carer parent is often not paid at all, or is part- or late-paid.
2. Trial a government guaranteed child support as recommended by the 2015 Parliamentary Inquiry into the Child Support Program.
Governments continue to say that ‘the child support scheme should continue to ensure that parents are responsible for the payment of child support’ but the current debt of $1.5 billion unpaid child support proves that the current child support system is not doing its job and Australian children and their primary care givers are suffering. We need the government to calculate the amount for each family in the trial group, make the payment and collect the debt.
3. Record child support debts on individual credit ratings.
This would support the principles of the Banking Royal Commission and make sure that future lenders know about the debt. It is also a strong incentive for paying child support in full and on time.
Listen to our podcast
Jenny Davidson talks with Terese Edwards, National Council of Single Mothers and their Children and Kay Cook, an academic who has done wonderful work analysing the issues with the Child Support system. Click here
Read our statement
The Council of Single Mothers and their Children works with others to bring about change. We have made this statement with the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare