1.4.3 Application of the CSA Act to WA Ex-nuptial Cases

Context

The CSA Act and its amendments apply to WA ex-nuptial cases to the extent that it has been adopted by the WA Parliament.

The WA Parliament has adopted the CSA Act and certain amendments made to this Act. The arrangement by which the WA Parliament has adopted these laws means that, from time to time, the Registrar must treat WA ex-nuptial cases differently to other cases.

Act references

CSA Act

Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Act 1990 (WA)

Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 1994 (WA)

Family Court Act 1997 (WA)

Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 2000 (WA)

Child Support Legislation (Transitional-Western Australia) Regulations 2000

Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 2002 (WA)

Child Support Legislation Amendment Act 1998

Child Support Legislation Amendment (Reform of the Child Support Scheme - Initial Measures) Act 2006

Family Legislation Amendment Act 2006 (WA)

Child Support Legislation Amendment (Reform of the Child Support Scheme - New Formula and Other Measures) Act 2006 (Cth)

Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Legislation Amendment (Child Support Reform Consolidation and Other Measures) Act 2007 (Cth)

Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 2007 (WA)

Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (2008 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2008

Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws-General Law Reform) Act 2008

Tax Laws Amendment (2009 Measures No. 1) Act 2009

Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 2011 (WA)

Child Support and Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Budget and Other Measures) Act 2010

Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Further Election Commitments and Other Measures) Act 2011

Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 2012 (WA)

Statute Law Revision Act 2011

Human Services Legislation Amendment Act 2011

Acts Interpretation Amendment Act 2011

Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Disability Support Pension Participation Reforms) Act 2012

Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (2012 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2012

Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 2014 (WA)

Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Further 2012 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2012

Federal Circuit Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments) Act 2013

Statute Law Revision Act 2013

Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014

Treasury Legislation Amendment (Repeal Day) Act 2015

Tribunals Amalgamation Act 2015

Crimes Legislation Amendment (Penalty Unit) Act 2015

Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015

Territories Legislation Amendment Act 2016

Crimes Amendment (Penalty Unit) Act 2017

Commencement of the CSA Act

The CSA Act came into operation on 1 October 1989. It did not apply to WA ex-nuptial children immediately. Carers of ex-nuptial children resident in WA could still apply to the WA Family Court for orders for child maintenance. The Registrar could register these court orders under the CSRC Act.

WA adoption of CSA Act from 19 January 1991

WA Parliament adopted the CSA Act from 19 January 1991. From that date the following arrangements applied to WA ex-nuptial cases:

  • Ex-nuptial children living in WA are eligible children for the purposes of the CSA Act and the people who care for them are able to apply for an administrative assessment of child support.
  • Carers of WA ex-nuptial children can no longer apply to the court for variations to existing court orders and registered agreements. A carer in a WA ex-nuptial case could have a court order for maintenance and be entitled to apply for an administrative assessment of child support payable by the same payer for the same child. In these cases, the Registrar offsets the overlapping court orders (or agreements) and administrative assessments.

Example: M and F are the parents of A. M and F separated on 1 December 1989. They were never married. A lives with M in Western Australia.

M applied to the Western Australian Family Court for an order requiring F to pay maintenance for A. The court ordered F to pay $25 per week. M registered the order with the Registrar and the Registrar started collecting child support from F.

M applied to the Registrar on 3 February 1991 for an administrative assessment of child support. The Registrar accepted M's application and worked out that F should pay $100 per week. M's court ordered amount remained as $25 per week and the assessment amount was reduced to $75 per week so that the overall amount payable (comprising both liabilities) was $100 per week.

WA adoption of CSA Act amendments from 9 December 1994

The WA Parliament adopted amendments made to the CSA Act since the last adoption from 9 December 1994. From that date the following arrangements applied to WA ex-nuptial cases:

  • Parents in a WA ex-nuptial case can apply to the Registrar for a change to their assessment in the special circumstances of the case for any child support year commencing 1 July 1992 onwards rather than applying to the court.
  • Payees in WA ex-nuptial cases who receive more than minimum family payment can no longer elect to end their child support assessments.
  • The Registrar no longer offsets overlapping liabilities for WA ex-nuptial cases. Instead, a court order for child support ceases to have effect when child support becomes payable under an administrative assessment for the child.
  • A person is considered an eligible carer of a WA ex-nuptial child if they cared for the child for at least 30% of the nights in the child support year.
  • If the payer or payee's taxable income for the last relevant year is not available when the Registrar is making a new child support assessment for a WA ex-nuptial case, the Registrar can choose an appropriate default income for that person. Before 9 December 1994, the Registrar was required to use a default income figure equivalent to 2.5 times average weekly earnings.
  • A payer or payee in a WA ex-nuptial case can no longer revoke their estimate of taxable income unless they make a new estimate election. Before 9 December 1994 a person could revoke their estimate and have their case return to the previous assessment based upon their income 2 years prior. Estimates could also be replaced by new estimates every 2 months rather than 3 months.
  • Courts are required to give reasons for making orders by consent for a change of assessment in special circumstances, or the provision of 'in kind' child support in cases where the payee in a WA ex-nuptial case received an income tested pension, benefit or allowance.

WA adoption of CSA Act amendments from 30 June 2000

The WA Parliament adopted further amendments to the CSA Act from 30 June 2000. From that date the following arrangements applied to WA ex-nuptial cases:

  • The start date of the liability arising from acceptance of an application for an assessment in a WA ex-nuptial case is the date the application was lodged.
  • Payees in WA ex-nuptial cases can apply for the administrative assessment of child support for a child in secondary education to continue to the end of the school year in which the child turns 18.
  • Payers and payees in WA ex-nuptial cases can now provide information and make some applications over the telephone, which the Registrar previously required in writing.
  • The Registrar can now be satisfied that a person is a parent of a WA ex-nuptial child if:
    • the child is born within 44 weeks of a marriage being annulled, or
    • the child is born after a marriage has been dissolved but within 44 weeks after a period of cohabitation by the 2 people concerned, or
    • the child is born to a woman who lived with the man anytime during the period beginning 44 weeks and ending 20 weeks before the child's birth.
  • Payers and payees in WA ex-nuptial cases can object to decisions of the Registrar under the CSA Act.
  • Payers and payees in WA ex-nuptial cases may only apply to a court for a departure from administrative assessment (section 116), or appeal against an incorrect assessment (section 110), or appeal against the acceptance or non-acceptance of a child support agreement (section 132) providing they have personally objected to the decision and it has been disallowed or partly allowed.
  • The Registrar can make a decision to either increase or decrease the amount of child support payable when making a change of assessment decision on an application by a payer or payee in a WA ex-nuptial case.
  • The Registrar can initiate a change of assessment in special circumstances for a WA ex-nuptial case.
  • A liable parent in a WA ex-nuptial case can apply for an administrative assessment.
  • The Registrar will include relevant dependent children in a child support assessment for a WA ex-nuptial case from the date of notification unless the Registrar is notified within 28 days of the child becoming a relevant dependent child, or within 28 days of a notice of assessment.
  • Changes to levels of care of a child in a WA ex-nuptial case will have effect from the date the Registrar is notified of the change.
  • Payees in WA ex-nuptial cases who receive more than the base rate of FTB Part A can elect to end their assessment if the Secretary approves the election. The Secretary must be satisfied that the payee is taking reasonable action to obtain maintenance for the child.
  • The Registrar must refer an agreement between the payer and payee in a WA ex-nuptial case, if the payee receives more than the base rate of FTB Part A, to the Secretary. The Registrar can only accept these agreements if the Secretary decides that the agreement passes the 'reasonable action to obtain maintenance' test.

WA adoption of CSA Act amendments from 1 January 2001

The following amendments applied to WA ex-nuptial cases from 1 January 2001:

  • Child support for WA ex-nuptial cases is assessed in child support periods rather than child support years. A child support period may last up to 15 months.
  • The assessments are based on taxable income for the most recent taxation year rather than taxable income for the financial year before last.
  • The payee's disregarded income is based on the 'all employees average weekly earnings' figure rather than the usually higher average weekly earnings figure and extra amounts according to the age of the children were no longer added to it.
  • The payer's exempt income amount was increased to 110% of the unpartnered rate of social security pension relevant to the one payable for the child support period.
  • When the liable parent has relevant dependent children the exempt income amount is increased to 220% of the annual amount of the partnered rate of social security pension relevant to that payable for the child support period.
  • The minimum child support rate payable is $260, not nil, and will not be reduced below $260 per annum unless the person's total income in the first 12 months of a child support period is less than $260.
  • A payee can apply for a change of assessment if the child care costs they incur are high and cost more than 5% of their child support income amount.
  • The Registrar cannot make a decision on a change of assessment application that the annual rate of child support in a case is to be reduced to nil.
  • In calculating the amount payable in an assessment the payer's adjusted income is reduced by 50 cents for every dollar of the carer parent's income above the disregarded income amount.
  • Any supplementary income (exempt foreign income, net rental losses and reportable fringe benefits) is added back to the liable parent's taxable income amounts.
  • When the parents share care of the children of a relationship, additional amounts are added to the liable parent's exempt income for any children in their sole, major or shared care.
  • The Registrar may refuse, review or amend a payer or payee's estimate of income.

New child support assessments commencing 1 January 2001

The Registrar made a new child support assessment for every WA ex-nuptial case, which applied to a child support period starting on 1 January 2001.

The Registrar based the new child support assessment upon the parents' taxable income for 1999-2000 if the ATO had issued an assessment of taxable income for that year for either parent. If neither parent's 1999-2000 taxable income was available, the Registrar based the new assessment on the 1998-1999 taxable income for each parent inflated by the relevant child support inflation factor.

WA adoption of CSA Act amendments from 9 December 2002

The Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 2002 (WA) commenced on 9 December 2002. It adopted amendments to the CSA Act contained in several acts including the Child Support Legislation Amendment Act 2001.

The following provisions of the CSA Act apply to WA ex-nuptial cases from 9 December 2002:

  • Reason 10 for change of assessment, earning additional income for the benefit of resident children. This change of assessment reason no longer applies for any child support case from 1 July 2008.
  • The exclusion of certain types of income (2.5.4) specified by regulation (amenity allowances or gratuities paid to prisoners; disability support pensions paid under social security law; or a pension paid to a veteran who is totally and permanently incapacitated under Veterans' Affairs law) when considering an application for the minimum child support liability of $260 per annum to be reduced to nil.
  • The repeal of the definition of 'eligible carer' in section 5 and its replacement by section 7B. This means that in WA ex-nuptial cases a non-parent carer will not be considered an eligible carer (2.1.1) if a parent or guardian of the child does not consent to that person providing care for the child.
  • Either parent in WA ex-nuptial cases may now apply to a court for an order for departure from administrative assessment (4.3.2) (section 116), or appeal against an incorrect assessment (section 110), or appeal against the acceptance or non-acceptance of a child support agreement (section 132) providing at least one of the parents has objected to the Registrar's decision and the Registrar has disallowed the objection or allowed it in whole or in part.

WA adoption of CSA Act amendments from 1 August 2006

The Family Legislation Amendment Act 2006 (WA) included provisions to adopt amendments to the CSA Act.

The following provisions apply to WA ex-nuptial cases from 1 August 2006:

  • The reduction of the maximum income amount used in a child support assessment from 2.5 times average weekly earnings (AWE) to 2.5 times all employees average weekly total earnings (EAWE).
  • The increase in the minimum annual rate of child support from $260 to $320 (adjusted annually in accordance with the CPI).
  • Changes limiting the circumstances in which an assessment can be increased on the basis of a parent's earning capacity.

WA adoption of CSA Act amendments from 1 November 2007, 1 January 2008 & 1 July 2008

The Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 2007 (WA) commenced on 31 October 2007. It adopted amendments to the CSA Act contained in the Tax Laws Amendment (Repeal of Inoperative Provisions) Act 2006, the Child Support Legislation Amendment (Reform of the Child Support Scheme - New Formula and Other Measures) Act 2006, the Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (2006 Budget Measures) Act 2006, the Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (2006 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2006, and the Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Veterans' Affairs Legislation Amendment (Child Support Reform Consolidation and Other Measures) Act 2007.

Amendments to the CSA Act made by the Child Support Legislation Amendment (Reform of the Child Support Scheme - New Formula and Other Measures) Act 2006 (Cth) apply to cases involving WA ex-nuptial children from 1 November 2007. Those amendments, which apply to all other cases from 1 January 2007, are as follows:

  • The Social Security Appeals Tribunal (SSAT) provides a process for parents who want a review of a decision by the Registrar made under the CSA Act or the CSRC Act.
  • A payee is able to apply directly to a court if the Registrar has refused their application for assessment because they were unable to satisfy the Registrar that the person named is a parent of the child or children.
  • A court has increased powers to make orders staying a child support assessment or collection pending the determination of an objection, application for review, or appeal to a court.
  • The Registrar is unable to make change of assessment decisions that affect a period more than 18 months earlier than the date of the application unless the court has granted leave. If a court grants leave it can specify a period for which an assessment can be changed of up to 7 years prior to the application.

Amendments to the CSA Act made by the Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Legislation Amendment (Child Support Reform Consolidation and Other Measures) Act 2007 (Cth) apply to cases involving WA ex-nuptial children from 1 January 2008. Those amendments, which apply to all other cases from 22 June 2007, are as follows:

  • Some changes to the secrecy provisions (6.3.3) including the following:
    • The Registrar can communicate protected information to persons as necessary to prevent a credible threat to the life, health or welfare of a person.
    • The Registrar can communicate protected information to brief the Minister in respect of a range of circumstances relating to the Minister's duties.
    • The Registrar can communicate protected information to a person who has the consent of the person to whom the information relates to obtain that information.
    • The Registrar can communicate protected information in specific circumstances relating to missing people and locating a relative or beneficiary of a deceased person.
    • A new offence for unauthorised disclosure (6.8.6) of information.
  • Removal of the restriction that information gathering by the Registrar (under section 161) in respect of third parties is limited to financial information.
  • Stay order provisions (4.3.6) have been removed from the CSA Act. All of the stay order provisions are located within the CSRC Act regardless of whether the relevant proceeding has commenced under the CSA Act or the CSRC Act.

All other provisions of the CSA Act which came into effect on 1 January 2008 and 1 July 2008 also came into effect for cases involving WA ex-nuptial children on the same dates.

WA adoption of CSA Act amendments from 3 March 2011

The Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 2011 (WA) commenced on 3 March 2011. It adopted amendments to the CSA Act contained in several Acts including the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (2008 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2008; the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Further 2008 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2008; the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws-General Law Reform) Act 2008; the Tax Laws Amendment (2009 Measures No. 1) Act 2009; and the Child Support and Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Budget and Other Measures) Act 2010.

Amendments to the CSA Act made by the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (2008 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2008 apply to WA ex-nuptial cases from 3 March 2011. Those amendments, which apply to all other cases from 1 July 2008, are as follows:

  • Child support agreements lodged with the Registrar on or after 1 July 2008, which effect periods prior to 1 July 2008 as well as periods from 1 July 2008, will be treated as 2 separate child support agreements - one for the period prior to 1 July 2008 and the other for the period from 1 July 2008.

Amendments to the CSA Act made by the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Further 2008 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2008 apply to WA ex-nuptial cases from 3 March 2011. Those amendments, which apply to all other cases from 6 January 2009, are as follows:

Change in the percentage of care

  • a change to a person's percentage of care will take effect from:
    • if the Registrar is notified, or otherwise becomes aware, of the event within 28 days after the day on which the event occurs - the day on which the event occurs,
    • in any other case - the day on which the Registrar is notified, or otherwise becomes aware, of the event,

Applications for the minimum assessment to be reduced to nil

  • a parent can make an application that:
    • nominates the whole of a child support period, or
    • a part of a child support period, being a part that is at least 2 months old and starts on a day on which they are assessed on the minimum annual rate,
  • an application will be granted if the Registrar is satisfied the parent's annualised income, based on the income for the nominated period, will be less than the amount of the minimum annual rate multiplied by the total number of the parent's child support cases (section 66A(2)),
  • a parent's annualised income is the parent's income for the nominated period/Number of days in the nominated period × 365.

Accepting an agreement during the change of assessment process

  • an agreement is a limited child support agreement if accepted by the Registrar under section 98U without needing to meet the tests in 80E (2) to (5),
  • the Registrar must not accept the agreement unless satisfied that it would be just and equitable, as regards to the child, liable parent and carer entitled to child support, to accept the agreement.

Change of assessment reason 6 - high costs of child care

  • a payer or a non-parent carer can apply to have high child care costs considered during the change of assessment process,
  • child care costs for a non-parent carer can only be considered high if, during the child support period, they total at least 25% of the costs of the child for that period.

Change of assessment in respect of a provisional notional assessment

  • when an application is made for a change of assessment and a child support agreement is accepted during this process (98U), the application for a change of assessment is taken to be an application for a departure determination in respect of a provisional notional assessment (section 146D).

There were other (care) amendments to the CSA Act made by the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Further 2008 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2008 that will not apply to WA ex-nuptial cases. Those amendments, which applied to all other cases from 6 January 2009 until 1 July 2010 when the care provisions were significantly amended by the Child Support and Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Budget and Other Measures) Act 2010 (the Budget Act 2010), are as follows:

  • a person's percentage of care can be amended from the day on which the Registrar becomes aware of one of the following:
    • there is a change of less than 7.1% in the percentage of care for the child that the person has because of an agreement, plan or order (including a variation of such an agreement, plan or order),
    • a change in care arrangements where the percentage of care for the child has fallen below 35%,
    • a change in care arrangements where the percentage of care for the child has increased to 35% or above,
  • the Registrar is not required to review an interim care determination if the Registrar is satisfied that there are special circumstances that justify not doing so.

Amendments to the CSA Act made by the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws - General Law Reform) Act 2008 apply to WA ex-nuptial cases from 3 March 2011. Those amendments, which apply to all other cases from 1 July 2009, are as follows:

  • The parentage provisions were amended to reflect the changes made to the FL Act to recognise that the members of a same sex couple may be the parents of a child, and if so, could be assessed as parents for child support.

Amendments to the CSA Act made by the Tax Laws Amendment (2009 Measures No. 1) Act 2009 apply to WA ex-nuptial cases from 3 March 2011. Those amendments, which apply to all other cases from 1 July 2009, are as follows:

  • the income component of 'net rental property losses' was replaced by a new component, 'the total net investment loss', which includes rental property losses and net financial investment losses, and
  • a new income component 'reportable superannuation contribution amounts' is included when calculating a parent's adjusted taxable income (ATI).

Amendments to the CSA Act made by the Child Support and Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Budget and Other Measures) Act 2010 apply to WA ex-nuptial cases from 3 March 2011. Those amendments, which apply to all other cases from 1 July 2010, are as follows:

  • The care provisions (2.2.5) were amended significantly to allow care determinations to be shared for child support and FTB purposes. Changes affect the way the Registrar can make care decisions, apply care decisions and review care decisions.
  • The estimate of income (2.5.1) provisions were amended to allow estimates of income to be made for a year of income, or part of a year of income.

WA adoption of CSA Act amendments from 22 November 2012

The Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 2012 (WA) commenced on 22 November 2012. It adopted amendments to the CSA Act contained in several Acts including the Statute Law Revision Act 2011; the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Further Election Commitments and Other Measures) Act 2011; the Human Services Legislation Amendment Act 2011; the Acts Interpretation Amendment Act 2011; the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Disability Support Pension Participation Reforms) Act 2012; and the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (2012 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2012.

Amendments to the CSA Act made by the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Further Election Commitments and Other Measures) Act 2011 apply to WA ex-nuptial cases from 22 November 2012. Those amendments, which apply to all other cases from 1 July 2011, are as follows:

  • Changes to the rules used to determine ATI (2.4.4.40) for child support periods starting on or after 1 July 2011 (on or after 22 November 2012 for WA ex-nuptial cases) where a parent has not lodged a tax return for the last relevant year of income.
  • A new default income rule uses a parent's previous taxable income ATI, multiplied by the ATI indexation factor (2.4.2), if that amount is greater than 2/3 of the male total average weekly earnings (MTAWE), when the parent has not lodged tax returns for the last relevant year of income, or the previous year.

Amendments to the CSA Act made by the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (2012 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2012 apply to WA ex-nuptial cases from 22 November 2012. Those amendments, which apply to all other cases from 1 July 2012, are as follows:

  • Where a person's percentage of care would otherwise be determined in accordance with an existing care arrangement for an interim period (section 51), the Registrar may instead determine that actual care should immediately apply in special circumstances.

WA adoption of CSA Act amendments from 4 December 2014

The Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 2014 (WA) commenced on 4 December 2014. It adopted amendments to the CSA Act contained in several Acts including the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Further 2012 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2012 Schedule 4; the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Disability Support Pension Participation Reforms) Act 2012; the Federal Circuit Court of Australia (Consequential Amendments) Act 2013; the Statute Law Revision Act 2013; and the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014.

Amendments to the CSA Act made by the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (2012 Budget and Other Measures) Act 2012 apply to WA ex-nuptial cases from 4 December 2014. Those amendments, which apply to all other cases from 17 November 2012, are as follows:

  • The amendment inserts a new section 107A which makes clear that the assessment is to be amended administratively by the Registrar in circumstances where a court decides that the payer is not a parent of one of the children in the assessment; but the payer remains liable for at least one other child in the assessment.

Amendments to the CSA Act made by the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Disability Support Pension Participation Reforms) Act 2012 Schedule 4 Part 1 Division 2 apply to WA ex-nuptial cases from 4 December 2014. Those amendments, which apply to all other cases from 1 January 2013, are as follows:

  • The relevant June quarter is used instead of the relevant September quarter to calculate the annualised MTAWE figure. The MTAWE figure is used to calculate a number of amounts including the relevant 'self-support amount'.

Amendments to the CSA Act made by the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Disability Support Pension Participation Reforms) Act 2012 Schedule 4 Part 1 Division 3 apply to WA ex-nuptial cases from 4 December 2014. Those amendments, which apply to all other cases from 1 July 2013, are as follows:

  • The relevant December quarter is used instead of the relevant September quarter to calculate the ATI indexation factor (2.4.2).

WA adoption of CSA Act amendments from 28 November 2015

The amendment of the Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Act 1990 (WA) by the Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 2015 (WA) commenced on 28 November 2015. From that day, the amended Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Act 1990 (WA) adopted the amended CSA Act as it existed on 1 July 2015, which included amendments to the CSA Act made by the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Repeal Day) Act 2015 and the Tribunals Amalgamation Act 2015.

The amendment to the CSA Act made by the Treasury Legislation Amendment (Repeal Day) Act 2015 applies to cases involving WA ex-nuptial children from 28 November 2015. The amendment, which applies to all other cases from 1 July 2015, is as follows:

  • The definition of a resident of Australia was amended due to amendments to the definition of Australia under taxation legislation. This amendment to the CSA Act provides that the definition of a resident of Australia continues to exclude residents of the external territories for child support purposes.

The Tribunals Amalgamation Act 2015 merged the AAT, the SSAT, Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal. The amalgamated tribunal is called the AAT. The amendments to the CSA Act made by the Tribunals Amalgamation Act 2015 apply to cases involving WA ex-nuptial children from 28 November 2015. The amendments, which apply to all other cases from 1 July 2015, include:

  • Child support decisions reviewed by the previous SSAT are now reviewed by the amalgamated tribunal, with these reviews being allocated to the Social Services and Child Support Division of the AAT,
  • New defined terms of 'AAT first review' and 'AAT second review' that correspond with the previous SSAT and AAT reviews of child support matters respectively,
  • Amendments to enable persons to seek merits review where the Child Support Registrar has refused to make a departure determination under sections 98E or 98R of the CSA Act because the issues are too complex, whereas under the previous policy they were required to seek an outcome in the courts,
  • Consequential amendments to replace references to the SSAT with references to the AAT.

CSA Act provisions which do not apply to WA ex-nuptial cases

On 31 July 2015, section 4AA of the Crimes Act 1914 was amended by the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Penalty Unit) Act 2015 to increase the penalty unit amount to $180. Due to amendments made by the Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Amendment Act 2015 (WA), the Child Support (Adoption of Laws) Act 1990 (WA) has adopted the amended CSA Act as it existed on 1 July 2015. Therefore, the penalty unit amount remains at $170 for WA ex-nuptial cases because this was the penalty unit that applied on 1 July 2015.

On 1 July 2016, the meaning of 'resident of Australia' in the CSA Act was amended by the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act 2015. This amendment provided that residents of Norfolk Island are residents of Australia for child support purposes, and enables residents of Norfolk Island to apply for child support. As this amendment occurred after the WA Parliament adopted the CSA Act as it existed on 1 July 2015, the definition of a 'resident of Australia' in section 10 of the CSA Act that is to apply to WA ex-nuptial cases will continue to exclude Norfolk Island residents as residents of Australia for child support purposes.

On 1 July 2016, the meaning of 'resident of Australia' in the CSA Act was further amended by the Territories Legislation Amendment Act 2016. This amendment provided that residents of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands are residents of Australia for child support purposes, and enables these residents to apply for child support. As this amendment occurred after the WA Parliament adopted the CSA Act as it existed on 1 July 2015, the meaning of 'resident of Australia' in section 10 of the CSA Act that is to apply to WA ex-nuptial cases will continue to exclude residents of Christmas Island, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands for child support purposes.

On 1 July 2017, section 4AA of the Crimes Act was amended by the Crimes Amendment (Penalty Unit) Act 2017 to increase the 'penalty unit' amount to $210, and for this amount to be automatically indexed in line with changes in the CPI on 1 July 2020 and each third 1 July following that day. As this amendment occurred after the WA Parliament adopted the CSA Act as it existed on 1 July 2015, the penalty unit amount remains at $170 for WA ex‑nuptial cases.

Last reviewed: 3 July 2017