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Thursday, 27 November 1997
Page: 11587

(Question No. 2384)

Mr McClelland asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 21 October 1997:

To what extent do the guidelines for the Child Support Agency require the Agency to have regard to the extent to which the income of a custodial parent is supplemented by income through a de facto relationship in the calculation in the child support obligations imposed on the non custodial parent.

Mr Costello —The Assistant Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

Child support liabilities are calculated by the application of a formula contained in the Child Support Assessment Act (1989). The income of new partners, whether married or de facto, of either the liable parent (non custodial) or the carer (custodial) is not taken into account in this formula. This is in line with the family law principle that the primary responsibility for financial support of children rests with their natural or adoptive parents.

The Child Support Assessment Act (1989) does provide for a departure from administrative assessment on any one of nine grounds. In some instances the income of new partners, married or de facto, may be relevant to a decision whether or not to depart from administrative assessment. One example of when this may occur is where a parent and his or her partner are involved jointly in business activity.