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Child Support Agency (CSA) bailout.



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MEDIA RELEASE

AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Kelvin Thomson MP

Shadow Minister for Human Services

17/06

28 February 2006

Child Support Agency (CSA) Bailout

Today’s announcement that CSA’s problems are to be solved after the next election with more taxpayers’ money is an expensive and explicit admission of failure.

Minister Hockey admitted today that there was a “complete mismatch” between services and needs. Tellingly, the entire 3000 CSA staff are to be retrained and a further 500 are to be employed.

There is no doubt that after 10 years of the Howard Government, the Child Support Agency has serious problems, and there is a widespread lack of public confidence in the way it carries out its tasks.

To fix these problems, the Howard Government plans to spend their way out of trouble. CSA are to be allocated over $100 million, over 4 years to:

• Increase the number of cases where parents are taken to court;

• Place stop orders on parent’s Passports, if they haven’t paid their debts;

• Refer cases to the Australian Taxation Office for investigation; and

• Increase the range of CSA’s legal powers.

Unfortunately, the bailout does not seek to remedy breaches of privacy. So this major issue is set to remain a major problem at CSA because, although more than a dozen employees have been sacked for browsing confidential records, nearly 15% of CSA employees are also CSA clients.

Minister Hockey claims these changes are focused upon the needs of Australian children… We’ll see.

The Howard Government’s spend and hide routine continues.

Canberra 28/02/2006 Media Contact: Martin Callinan 040 000 6311