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Public deserve better from Katherine Rich

13 January 2005

Public deserve better from Katherine Rich

Associate Revenue Minister David Cunliffe today attacked National's belated and ill informed comments on child support collection in Australia.

"The National government did not collect a cent of debt from Australia in the nine years it administered child support. Even Ms Rich should be able to see the irony in telling this government to 'get cracking'," said David Cunliffe.

"Her comments also show she is completely ignorant of the work we have been doing to get errant parents in Australia to front up to their responsibilities."

In 2000 the government signed a reciprocal agreement with Australia for the collection of child support debt. The Australian Child Support Agency is following up over 3,600 cases on our behalf.

In last year's budget $17 million was allocated to enhance child support administration. This will help to double the number of cases that can be investigated in Australia over the next year.

"As I have stated publicly our aim is to have a seamless jurisdiction across the Tasman for child support. Parents moving to Australia should not be able to hide from their responsibilities." Some of those with large debts have been stopped at the border with a court order. Inland Revenue is working with Customs to improve border control.

"Most of the growth in Australian debt is due to better identification of that debt through the reciprocal agreement. Ms Rich's comments are like asking for more police and then claiming crime is going up if more criminals are caught."

"Child support is an important issue. The public deserves the facts. They haven't been getting them from Katherine Rich," said David Cunliffe.

ENDS

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