Give the Child Support Agency 'teeth' to force fathers to support their children
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Unpaid, part-paid and late-paid child support, together with child support avoidance through income minimisation and the non-lodgement of tax returns, are all significant factors in the financial stress of many families headed by single parents.
Many parents who care for children full-time are living in poverty or under considerable financial stress while their former partners - who are not meeting their child support responsibilities - are living a comfortable lifestyle with little or no child-caring responsibility.
These issues are heightened where children have costly health or disability issues which add significantly to the average cost of supporting children.
This is a gendered form of economic abuse, with families headed by women more at risk of financial strain due to child support non-compliance.
For many, this economic abuse is a continuation of family violence.
I call on the Federal Government to:
1. Support women and children subject to economic abuse;
2. Give the Child Support Agency adequate tools to pursue parents who do not support their children;
3. Ensure other federal agencies such as Centrelink, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Taxation Office must assist the Agency; and
4. Make the required legislative changes to achieve these goals.
Let's start with an amendment to the Corporations Act disqualifying company directors who owe child supports debts from holding the office of director. After all, why should a director who cannot manage his own finances be permitted to manage a company's affairs?
Why do I care? Because I am one of many women caring for and financially supporting children (including two with disabilities) without regular and adequate support from my ex-husband, with the Agency powerless to take meaningful action against him.
We do not need another inquiry - WE NEED ACTION NOW!
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