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Child support compliance lacks funds.



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Mon, 23rd June 2008 CHILD SUPPORT COMPLIANCE LACKS FUNDS

Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Shadow Minister for Human Services

Shadow Minister for Human Services Helen Coonan has labelled the bulk of the Rudd Government's Child Support Agency compliance measures as basic extensions on already existing practices previously undertaken by the former Coalition Government, but lacking the funds to deliver the forecast collections.

Minister for Human Services Senator Joe Ludwig announced today that he would continue with the current Child Support Agency compliance program for separated parents, while extending four areas of compliance activity.

''Compliance activity and forecast collections were funded by the previous Coalition Government over four years. However, the Child Support Agency is clearly under pressure due to the implementation of these key reforms and they have revised their target collections downwards,'' Senator Coonan explained.

''Senator Ludwig is kidding himself if he thinks these targets can be met without the adequate funding.''

''While the Rudd Government is embracing the former Government's reforms, it has not provided any further financial support for the Child Support Agency to do this important work.''

''Intensive debt collection will be at risk unless Labor properly resources the Child Support Agency.''

''Today's announcement introduced salary sacrificing measures - yet the Coalition Government introduced reforms to Child Support Scheme in 2006 to prevent non custodial parents artificially minimising income for child support payments, making the scheme fairer and more balanced.''

The Rudd Government also intends to undertake an optical surveillance trial - a measure already used with welfare and pension recipients.

''The Rudd Government's announcement today recognises and builds on the Coalition's major reforms to the child welfare system,'' Senator Coonan said.

Senator Coonan said that the insolvency trustee service aspect would act as an enforcement mechanism and believed that the tax return regulation component, which requires both parental payers and recipients to lodge tax returns, had the ''potential to be difficult to administer and highly bureaucratic''.

''Senator Ludwig needs to go further than adopting the Coalition's reforms - he needs to fully fund what he is asking the Child Support Agency to do,'' Senator Coonan said.