ACT Social Services Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman says public submissions on the Child Support Amendment Bill are
highlighting the urgent need for reform of the Child Support Act.
"The Government's legislation to increase payments of child support will exacerbate the glaring anomalies that already
exist in the law ' making the situation even more unfair.
"Submissions to the select committee have shown that the Inland Revenue Department take no notice if a liable parent has
a student loan; a parent with a $60,000 student loan is treated the same way as someone with no debt.
"Further, there is no consideration given to parents who take care of their children for up to 40 percent of the time.
They have to pay the same liable parent contribution as those who never see their children at all. Yet such parents may
have considerable expenses providing beds, toys and clothes and other things their children require as well as needing
to limit the paid work they do.
"In Australia they have lowered this threshold to 10 percent ' recognising that parents need to be encouraged to see
their children as much as possible. At the moment in this country we are actively discouraging many of our parents from
seeing their children. We need to place a value on parenting and not just treat parents like cash machines.
"The Child Support Amendment Bill is a tinkering piece of legislation which will be punitive for many people. This is
just another piece of hasty legislation from a cash strapped Government which is considering money first and people a
very long last.
"Nobody has so far attempted to address the underlying unfairness in child support law. I call for an urgent review of
the Child Support Act, so we can sort out some of the glaring anomalies and provide a fair system for parents and
children alike," Dr Newman said.