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Booklet helps separated families turn new financial leaf.

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Media Release

Booklet helps separated families turn new financial leaf

25 January 2008

Minister for Human Services Senator Joe Ludwig recognised that the post Christmas period can be especially tough on separating or separated parents and says that the New Year is a great time to set a new budget, tackle debt, and commit to establishing good money habits for 2008.

As post-Christmas and back-to-school debts start to squeeze finances, the Child Support Agency (CSA) booklet Me and my Money is aimed at helping separated and separating families cope financially. The CSA has around 1.5 million customers and transfers child support payments for more than 1.1 million children.

“Me and my Money is a popular free booklet with practical financial hints and tips for separated families. Money can often contribute to relationship breakdown, yet the real financial pain often starts after separation when costs are spread across two households,” Senator Ludwig said.

“Whether you have a lot or a little, your ability to manage your money and budget well makes a big impact on your life, and that of your children when you’re separated.”

“Parents who take the time to review their financial affairs and improve their money management skills can reduce a major source of tension in their lives and create an opportunity for building or maintaining a positive, co-operative relationship with the other parent for the sake of the children.”

“Taking some simple steps may reduce the stress of money issues at this time of year when credit card bills, school expenses and holiday costs all put extra strain on tight budgets and emotions,” Senator Ludwig said.

Me and my Money, will help parents to:

• work out where the money goes

• reduce debt

• organise a realistic budget

• choose banking and other financial services

“Me and my Money is very useful, yet if financial problems are serious, it’s also important to seek professional advice,” Senator Ludwig said.

A section of the booklet gives tips and hints on using ATM and credit cards, reducing debt, credit contracts and a SuperTracker for matching spending against a budget.

Copies of CSA’s free booklets and a list of community service providers and financial counsellors can be found at or phone 1800 040 972 to order the booklets.

Background on Separated Parents and Eligible Children by State

Separated Parents and Eligible Children by State (June 2007)

State Separated Parents Eligible Children* NSW 439,000 345,000

Vic 315,000 244,000

Qld 319,000 247,000

SA 116,000 88,000

Tas 39,000 30,000

ACT 20,000 15,000

WA 143,000 110,000

NT 15,000 12,000

Other 66,000 39,000

TOTAL 1,472,000 1,130,000

1. These figures have been rounded. 2. Other*- contains customers who are overseas or have not provided their postcode to CSA. 3. Eligible Children*- as recorded against paying parents.

Media Contact: Barb Barrett—0448 469 787.