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Labour makes no headway on Oz-based liable parents

Judith Collins MP
National Party Welfare Spokeswoman

Labour makes no headway on Oz-based liable parents

National’s Welfare spokeswoman, Judith Collins, says Labour is making no headway whatsoever in recovering money owed by liable parents living in Australia.

“The numbers don’t lie. In 2003, $73,207,549 was owed by liable parents known to be living in Australia. Today that figure has ballooned to $281,913, 850.

“The size of this debt is simply staggering.

“The amount owed by parents who’ve left for Australia has nearly quadrupled, despite a wealth of promises from Labour that it would try harder to collect the outstanding debts.”

Ms Collins also notes that less of the money being collected by the Government is finding its way back into the pockets of solo parents.

“According to answers to Parliamentary questions, in 2003, 70% of money collected from child support went back to the custodial parent, with 30% being kept by the Government.

“Today, less than half (48%) goes back to custodial parents, with Labour hanging on to 51% of the collected cash.

“For the past three years Labour has done practically nothing to recover these bad debts. They say the answer lies in a bill that will excuse liable parents a chunk of their debt in return for a promise to pay.

“But that is merely an effort to make the figures look better. If absent parents haven’t lived up to their responsibilities before now, what makes the Government think there will be a sea-change in their behaviour?”

Ms Collins says National would look at tracking those who owe big money in child support at the border, and work more closely with Australian officials to recover money owed.

“Quarter of a billion dollars isn’t small change. It could help make a real difference to thousands of children and their families.”

Ends

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