Child support system failure

Delayed upgrade the latest frustration for Aussie families

Hot off the heels of the debacle which has seen Centrelink falsely accuse many Aussies of welfare fraud comes the government’s latest technology-related mess. This time, it’s the child support system.

Child support system in desperate need of an upgrade

  • The system that is supposed to manage child support payments for more than 1.2 million Aussie kids was declared obsolete and in need of replacement more than 4 years ago.
  • But despite $104 million of public money being handed over to implement a new system by mid-last year, it’s still nowhere in sight.
  • And the Department of Human Services admit they’re got no idea how much longer it’s going to take.

Another tech disaster for the government

  • This is yet another tech disaster for the government, to add to the list alongside the frustrating MyGov website and the Census flop.
  • And it’s little comfort to all the Australian families and the 1.2 million kids who rely on our child support system for the assistance and cash they need to get by.

Child support frustration is growing

  • In response to growing complaints about the way the child support system is failing Aussie families, an audit into the system was announced late last year.
  • Many claim the current system makes it too easy for some parents to get away with dodging their child support payments.
  • An upcoming audit plans to focus on – and hopefully improve! – links between the ATO and Department of Human Services to investigate alleged child support rorting.

New system desperately needed

  • The system that currently manages child support payments is 15 years old – it’s been in use since 2002.
  • It contains all child support customer records is supposed to effectively enable assessments, child support payments and data comparison with other government departments.
  • But the replacement system is still nowhere in sight, adding to the frustrations of Aussie families.

Child support complaints

  • Some of the most common frustrations around the current child support system are:
    • not collecting child support payments
    • the way Centrelink payments are impacted by child support payment
    • the agency not properly reconciling a parent’s actual income against their estimate
    • confusing letters and information being sent to parents
    • ineffective management of complex family situations
  • It’s hoped that the much-awaited system upgrade will help alleviate many of these issues for Aussie families.
  • But unfortunately, there’s no solution in sight just yet.