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Monday, 19 September 1994
Page: 934

(Question No. 1488)


Senator Knowles asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 27 June 1994:

  (1) How much money was paid for each month to the Child Support Agency in the period 1 July 1993 to 1 January 1994 in Western Australia?

  (2) How much of this money was held in trust for more than 28 days?

  (3) How many complaints were received each month related to non-receipt of payments?

  (4) What Department of Social Security payment is available to custodial parents when maintenance payments are held up?


Senator Cook —The Assistant Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) Cash receipted by Western Australian offices for the period 1 July 1993 through to January 1994 and including periods up to June 1994 is outlined in the table below:

————————————————————————————————————

Month Cannington Northbridge Total

————————————————————————————————————

Jul-93 $743,525.84 $1,267,328.60 $2,010,854.44

Aug-93 $940,796.31 $1,545,157.14 $2,485,953.45

Sep-93 $907,508.49 $1,414,216.42 $2,321,724.91

Oct-93 $809,258.03 $1,307,532.22 $2,116,790.25

Nov-93 $772,942.64 $1,628,854.04 $2,401,796.68

Dec-93 $695,648.21 $1,231,597.20 $1,927,245.41

Total (6 month) $4,869,679.52 $8,394,685.62 $13,264,365.14

Jan-94 $793,671.34 $1,679,466.96 $2,473,138.30

Feb-94 $693,436.73 $1,328,163.57 $2,021,600.30

Mar-94 $808,391.33 $1,431,195.62 $2,239,586.95

Apr-94 $735,572.04 $1,345,088.02 $2,080,660.06

May-94 $793,671.34 $1,463,651.60 $2,257,322.94

Jun-94 $749,434.33 $1,235,498.81 $1,984,933.14

Total (6 month) $4,574,177.11 $8,483,064.58 $13,057,241.69

TOTAL $9,443,856.63 $16,877,750.20 $26,321,606.83

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  (2) The CSA Management Information System is unable to provide information regarding the amount of money held in trust over 28 days. The information system does not match remittance amounts to individual payments.

  (3) The CSA does not retain any statistics in respect to the number of complaints received for money held in trust for more than 28 days. Figures are collected in regard to the number of complaints to both the Ombudsman's Office and Members of Parliament in relation to non-receipt of payments. Set out in the table below are these figures on a monthly basis from 1 July 1993 to 1 January 1994:

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Month Cannington Northbridge Total

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July 1993 15 11 26

August 1993 13 11 24

September 1993 14 13 27

October 1993 24 10 34

November 1993 17 6 23

December 1993 14 9 23

TOTAL 97 60 157

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  It should be noted that these figures include cases where there has been delays in collection due to change of employment, delays in locating payers and non-collection of arrears.

  (4) The social security system makes a range of income support and other payments based on people's established needs. There is no social security payment specifically made to compensate for delayed or non-receipt of child support.

  Many custodial parents may be entitled to receive, in their own right, a social security payment such as the Sole Parent Pension, Basic Family Payment or Additional Family Payment. One of these payments, the Additional Family Payment, is affected by the amount of maintenance a custodial parent receives.

  Additional Family Payment is paid to families who receive a pension, allowance or benefit or who are in low income employment. Maintenance income above a free area of $33.30 per fortnight for one child plus $11.10 per fortnight for each extra child reduces Additional Family Payment by 50 cents in the dollar. The free area is indexed in line with the Consumer Price Index at 1 July each year.

  A person who regularly receives both an Additional Family Payment and child support may be paid a higher amount of Additional Family Payment if a child support payment is not made. The person's Additional Family Payment may also vary if the amount of child support received varies from month to month.