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Special program recovers $28 million for children.

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MEDIA RELEASE Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig Minister for Human Services

Monday 20 October 2008

Special program recovers $28 million for children

A program targeting the worst child support evaders in Australia has delivered more than $28 million to the children of separated families - and is set to recover over $100 million more.

The $28.4 million recovered last financial year by the Child Support Agency’s Intensive Debt Collection team went to children in 26,385 separated families.

“This is money that thousands of kids had previously been denied by serious avoiders of child support,” the Minister for Human Services, Senator Joe Ludwig, said.

“The CSA is targeting 67,500 child support cheats in this second phase of the intensive collection program,” Senator Ludwig said.

“The CSA is on target to net $140 million in extra child support over the life of this three-year phase.”

“We are already well underway to achieving our target for this financial year of an extra $74 million.”

“These will include 26,000 separated parents who owe child support to more than one partner.”

“These multiple defaulters represent about 11 per cent of all paying parents with debts - and are responsible for almost 20 per cent of all money owed.”

“These worst-of-the-worst offenders are the reason why I introduced a tougher compliance strategy in June.”

“The program gives the Child Support Agency new tools to crack down on these serial defaulters.”

“Some people even criticised me for taking a stronger stand against the worst offenders.”

“Most parents do the right thing, but others should know the CSA has extensive powers to convince difficult parents to meet their obligations to their children.”

“Individual case management of people with large debts will be a key focus of the compliance crackdown,” Senator Ludwig said.

Intensive Debt Collection Case Studies 2007-08

Case 1

A paying parent failed to meet child support obligations for a number of years, with outstanding payments increasing to more than $80,000 during 2007.

Investigations by the CSA revealed the parent owned various properties and had savings worth more than his child support debt.

A notice was issued to the parent’s bank and over $80,000 was received and transferred for the benefit of the children.

Case 2

The CSA was investigating a separated parent with outstanding payments of almost $30,000.

The regular business traveller was told a Departure Prohibition Order could be issued, preventing them from leaving Australia, unless the child support debt was paid.

The customer made a lump sum payment of about $25,000 and agreed to clear the remaining amount through monthly payments.

MINISTER’S MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Scavo 0413 800 757