Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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Statutory Rules 1999 No. 104

Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Community Services

Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988

Child Support (Registration and Collection) Amendment Regulations 1999 (No. 1)

Section 125 of the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 (the Act) provides that the Governor-General may make Regulations for the purposes of the Act.

The principal Regulations have been amended as a consequence of amendments made to the Act by the Child Support Legislation Amendment Act 1998 (the Amendment Act).

The Act provides for the registration, collection and enforcement of enforceable maintenance liabilities by the Child Support Registrar.

Section 29 of the Act states that the regulations may make provision with respect to the conversion of amounts payable under registrable maintenance liabilities into daily, weekly and monthly rates of payment. The amendments made by the Amendment Act mean that a person may now elect to have their child support liability collected in accordance with their own pay cycle.

The amended regulations will ensure that there is a payment rate which reflects the parent's pay cycle. The regulations are amended to additionally provide for conversion of amounts payable under registrable maintenance liabilities to fortnightly and 4 weekly rates of payment.

The Act as amended now allows the Registrar to decide that an enforceable maintenance liability should no longer be enforced under the Act if he is satisfied that the payer has and is likely to continue to have a satisfactory payment record. The parties would be required to move to private collection arrangements.

The new regulations define what constitutes a satisfactory payment record.

Should the private collection arrangements fail a payee may apply to the Registrar to have the Registrar again enforce the maintenance liability. The Registrar will accept that application if the payer is considered to have an unsatisfactory payment record.

The new regulations also define what constitutes an unsatisfactory payment record.

The Act provides that the payer of an enforceable maintenance liability will be entitled to a credit of up to 25% of their monthly child support liability for certain prescribed payments. Those payments may be made without the agreement of the payee and will only be applied to a child support liability where other conditions have also been met.

The new regulations specify the types of payments which the Registrar may credit against the enforceable maintenance liability.

The Amendment Act amended the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 to ensure that paying parents have a minimum annual rate of child support payable of $260. The Amendment Act also amended the Act to facilitate collection of that liability. This amendment will allow the Registrar to collect child support liabilities from a paying parent's social security pension or benefit by giving written notice to the Secretary to the Department of Family and Community Services.

The new regulations specify the maximum amount which may be collected from a payer's social security pension or benefit.

The regulations commence on 1 July 1999.

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