The department delivers the Child Support Scheme, which aims to ensure that children receive an appropriate level of financial support from parents who are separating or separated. This includes working with other government departments and agencies to give separated parents and non‑parent carers access to the full range of government and community support services.
The department provides child support registration, assessment, collection and disbursement services to parents and non‑parent carers such as grandparents, legal guardians or other family members.
The person entitled to receive child support can either elect to have child support payments transferred to them privately by the paying parent (Private Collect) or ask the department to collect on their behalf (Child Support Collect). The department has compliance and enforcement programs to ensure that the payments are made.
The department also assesses parents’ applications to have their child support payments reviewed based on changes of circumstances.
In 2018-19, the department implemented changes under the 2017-18 Budget measure Government Response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Child Support Program—Implementation. These changes improve the way agreements, income, care and overpayments are considered in Child Support cases.
The department successfully migrated more than 530,000 registered online service users to the new system for delivering Child Support online services. This redesigned system is part of our continuing development of online capability to understand and respond to customer demands.
As part of the department’s compliance and enforcement work, we issued 1,921 Departure Prohibition Orders (DPOs), resulting in $28,000,955 being collected. DPOs stop child support debtors from leaving Australia. They have been an effective tool in helping to increase the collection rate of outstanding child support. The department issued 68,314 ‘nudge’ letters to customers who had missed payments, which resulted in $77.9 million being paid in full and a further $66.2 million where paying parents entered into an arrangement to repay their child support debt. The wording of these letters is based on our behavioural analytics research, which helps us to understand how to motivate positive customer responses.