The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

6.2.4 Information gathering powers under the CSRC Act


The Registrar has statutory powers to obtain information for the purposes of collecting child support. A court can also use these powers to obtain information if a payee is exercising their right to enforce a debt via court proceedings (5.4.7).

Act references

CSRC Act section 120, section 121A

CSRC Regs section 27, section 33

Obtaining information

The Registrar or a court can require a person to:

  • provide information (CSRC Act section 120(1)(a))
  • attend and answer questions (CSRC Act section 120(1)(b)), and
  • produce documents (CSRC Act section 120(1)(c)).

These powers can only be exercised for the purposes of the CSRC Act.

A person who is required to attend under section 120(1)(b) of the CSRC Act (other than a payer, payee, or their representative) is entitled to expenses (CSRC Act section 120(2) and CSRC Regs section 27).

A notice must also be properly served on the person (6.7).

A notice must give the person a reasonable time to comply. What is a reasonable time will depend on the type and extent of the information sought.

The Registrar will not collect information that is not necessary for its purposes or intrudes unreasonably on a person's privacy (see information about the Privacy Act 1988 in 6.3.1).

Whilst it can be appropriate for the Registrar to seek information from other departments via informal arrangements, a notice can be issued to another government department. However, there will be instances where secrecy provisions and/or privacy obligations will prevent other departments from disclosing information in the absence of legal authority to do so.

The Registrar may collect and use information from third parties (6.3.4).

Obtaining information from residents of reciprocating jurisdictions

The Registrar can request a person who is or was a resident of a reciprocating jurisdiction, or request an overseas authority of a reciprocating jurisdiction, to:

  • provide information (CSRC Act section 121A(a))
  • attend and answer questions (CSRC Act section 121A(b)), and
  • produce documents (CSRC Act section 121A(c)).

A notice under section 121A of the CSRC Act can be given to the payee or payer in a reciprocating jurisdiction by giving it to the relevant overseas authority (CSRC Regs section 33).

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