Thursday, 26 April 2007

Child Support Agency collects $131 million in outstanding debts

The Minister for Human Services, Senator Chris Ellison, has announced efforts to collect outstanding child support payments has returned more than $131 million to children.

Senator Ellison said the Child Support Agency’s intensive debt collection team had reached its four year target earlier than expected.

“Since the Team was set up on 1 July 2003 the program has well and truly paid off with more than 45,000 parents receiving much needed child support payments as a result of this important work.”

“The Government gave CSA an extra $31 million which enabled it to employ an extra 110 staff to work with customers with outstanding payments.

“This has resulted in the collection of an additional $131 million in overdue payments in the last four years,” Senator Ellison said.

The Intensive Debt Collection program has now been expanded by an extra 35 staff and it is expected that CSA will collect an additional $222 million in outstanding payments by 30 June 2010. CSA expects to contact an additional 22,500 customers with outstanding payments each year.

“The efforts and results so far prove that this is a wise investment on behalf of the children who ultimately benefit from the outstanding child support debts being cleared,” Senator Ellison said.

“Avoiding child support obligations is not fair to the other parent, the children involved and the taxpayers who contribute through increased family tax benefit payments.”

Senator Ellison said the Child Support Agency always encourages voluntary payments before taking administrative or legal enforcement action.

“In fact, the majority of separated parents are making private arrangements for the payment of child support in the best interests of their children,” Senator Ellison said.

Senator Ellison said customers in financial difficulties have a range of support services available to them and CSA can assist to direct them to the appropriate services

CSA encourages customers to take a proactive approach to their child support obligations. Should a parent’s circumstances change or if they have outstanding child support payments and have not entered into a payment arrangement, they should contact CSA on 131 272.

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