The Minister for Social Services, the Hon Kevin Andrews MP, has asked the Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee to inquire into the Australian Child Support Program.
Although it is not clear what the driving forces for the inquiry are this is certainly a far more substantial effort than we have seen in New Zealand.
Commenting on the inquiry, a spokesman from the Non-Custodial Parents Party, John Flanagan said “Our understanding is that this inquiry will be mainly about the following issues;”
1. Whether the payer or the payee should pay the tax on child support payments.
2. Whether overtime should be excluded from child support calculations.
3. Whether there should be a fairer cap on the maximum income to determine child support payments.
4. Whether the payer should not be penalized if the payee chooses not to work when that payee has the ability to do so.
5. Whether court-ordered custody arrangements should determine child support payments – not claims by the payee.
6. Should the overall child support system be made fairer.
Apart from receiving written submissions, the Committee will also be holding hearings in many Australian cities, which will be open to the public. As part of its hearings, the Committee will be holding ‘community statement sessions’, at which individuals may make short statements to the Committee about the inquiry’s terms of reference.
The Committee is expected to table its report in early 2015.
If you wish to share your personal experiences with the Committee, an online questionnaire is available here. (The Committee cannot investigate individual cases or complaints and submissions should not include personal details.)
Submissions directly addressing the terms of reference should be forwarded to the Committee no later than Friday 13 June 2014.
Any individual or organisation can make a submission to a parliamentary committee. There appears to be no requirement to be an Australian citizen or resident, and the Committee invites submissions from relatives, e.g. grandparents.
Full details regarding the submission process are available on the Australian Parliamentary website, or contact John Flangan at this email firstname.lastname@example.org to reach the Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting).
Published submissions are available here; Non-Custodial Parents Party (Equal Parenting) submission is number seven.