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Child support legislation passed.

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Significant changes to the Child Support Scheme will deliver a system that is truly in the best interests of the children, Member for Herbert, Peter Lindsay, said today. An external review of Child Support Agency decisions by the Social Security Appeals Tribunal will take effect from January 1 2007, following the passing of the Child Support Legislation Amendment (Reform of the Child Support scheme - New Formula and Other Measures) Bill 2006. The new child support arrangements will provide a review mechanism that is inexpensive, fair, informal and quick and will improve the consistency and transparency of child support decisions. The Bill also includes new child support arrangements - to be implemented on 1 July 2008. “The new scheme will be fairer to both parents and will focus more on the needs of the children,” Peter Lindsay MP, said. “The Federal Government has made the most significant changes to the Child Support Scheme in its 18 year history. “The changes are in line with the Government’s new family law system which is aimed at encouraging shared parenting and reducing conflict.” Key aspects of the reforms include: •New child support formula based on the costs of children, which shares the costs between the parents based on their proportionate income, recognises shared care and treats first and second families more fairly •Better arrangements for parents who want to make their own agreements about child support •Improved interaction between child support and family benefits •Recognition of the extra costs for setting up new homes after separation by allowing income from overtime and second jobs for this purpose to be excluded from assessment for three years •Recognition of step-children where no-one else can financially support them •Changes to the minimum payment rules so that the minimum payment is paid per case up to a maximum of three cases