Family Law Inquiry – implementing child support recommendations
The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that Australia’s Child Support Scheme remains effective in the assessment and collection of child support to ensure children remain financially supported by their parents after separation.
Australian Government response to the 2019 Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System
The 2019 Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System ( the Committee) conducted an inquiry into Australia’s family law system. In its Second Interim and Final Reports, the Committee made recommendations on family law, and in its Third Interim Report, made 19 child support recommendations.
On 25 January 2023, the Government tabled its response to the Committee’s recommendations.
The Department of Social Services (DSS), Services Australia and the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) are responsible for implementing the Government’s response to the Committee’s child support recommendations.
The table below outlines the 19 child support recommendations from the Third Interim Report and the agency leading on its implementation. Detailed descriptions of these recommendations can be found here.
|Recommendation||Recommendation summary||Australian Government response||Lead agency|
|1||Enhance services through Services Australia, particularly for clients with a disability and/or low levels of English proficiency.||Agreed||Services Australia|
|2||Fully implement recommendations 1 and 18 of the 2015 Parliamentary Inquiry into the Child Support Program.||Agreed in principle||Services Australia|
|3||Reconvene regular meetings of the Child Support National Stakeholder Engagement Group, or an equivalent forum, to ensure stakeholder voices are heard.||Agreed||DSS|
|4||Undertake a twelve month pilot of co-locating Child Support Scheme officers, as Court Liaison Officers, in a number of Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia registries.||Agreed in principle||Services Australia/AGD|
|5||Engage with stakeholders to assess their data needs, and publish these datasets where possible.||Agreed||DSS|
|6||Regularly assess the compliance rates of Private Collect arrangements and publish the resulting information.||Noted||DSS|
|7||Reconsider the feasibility of conducting a trial of a limited financial guarantee for either vulnerable families or a randomised sample of Child Support Scheme clients.||Noted||DSS|
|8||The Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry into the Child Support Scheme to review compliance with child support assessments.||Agreed in principle||DSS|
|9||Amend the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 to allow Services Australia, as the Child Support Registrar, to accept child support applications using accredited DNA evidence without a court order.||Agreed in principle||DSS|
|10||Amend the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 to allow Services Australia, as the Child Support Registrar, to end child support assessments using accredited DNA evidence without a court order.||Agreed in principle||DSS|
|11||Amend section 4 of the Family Law Act 1975 to recognise persistent underpayment and/or non-payment of child support as relevant factors in determining the existence of abuse.||Noted||AGD|
|12||Staff within Services Australia to undertake enhanced training to ensure they can identify family and domestic violence in child support cases, and are equipped to provide timely advice and assistance.||Agreed||Services Australia|
|13||Consider the benefits of introducing lump sum child support payments into child support legislation, akin to the Family law Act 1975.||Agreed in principle||DSS|
|14||Establish a Ministerial Taskforce and Expert Working Group to examine issues raised regarding the Child Support Scheme.||Agreed in principle||DSS|
|15||Services Australia to update and enhance public information relating to the three-year additional income exemption. The exemption should be clearly brought to a payee’s attention at the earliest opportunity, preferably the first communication by Services Australia.||Agreed||Services Australia|
|16||Consider whether child support assessments should be automatically changed to reflect amended court orders.||Agreed in principle||DSS|
|17||Undertake a review of interim-care provisions so that they better support compliance with family law orders.||Agreed in principle||DSS|
|18||Update the Costs of the Children Table to reflect the current costs of raising children in Australia.||Agreed||DSS|
|19||Amend the Cost of the Children Table to better reflect the costs of raising four or more children.||Agreed in Principle||DSS|
Implementing the recommendations
As part of the 2023-24 Budget, the Government has committed $5.1 million over five years from 2022-23 to implement key recommendations made by the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System to:
- establish a Child Support Stakeholder Consultation Group to perform a key advisory role for Government on issues impacting the efficient operation of the Child Support Scheme
- establish a Child Support Expert Panel, who will provide advice to Government, including on the costs of raising children in Australia to ensure child support payments provide children with an adequate level of financial support
- review compliance in the child support scheme, with a focus on collection and enforcement
- review the interaction between the child support scheme and Family Tax Benefit to ensure vulnerable single parent families are financially supported after separation
- undertake an evaluation of separated families to understand what can be done to support parents with caring responsibilities where private collection arrangements have broken down
Read more about the 2023-24 Budget.
Updated information will be provided as the implementation of the Australian Government response progresses.
Recommendation 3: Child Support Stakeholder Consultation Group
The Child Support Stakeholder Consultation Group has been established to perform a key advisory role for Government on the Child Support Scheme.
See the Child Support Stakeholder Consultation Group page for more information.
Recommendation 5: Child support data
The Committee recommended the Government consult with stakeholders to determine their child support data needs.
DSS is seeking feedback from interested stakeholders on publically available child support program data.
Email email@example.com to discuss or provide your feedback.