A record number of child support dodgers have been stopped from going overseas as part of a $15 million crackdown on parents shirking their obligations.
Some 1067 people were slapped with international travel bans in the first half of this financial year, an increase of almost 50 per cent on the same six-month period last year.
More than $15 million of unpaid child support was recouped between July and December, with the money going to the parent who has custody.
Human Services Minister Michael Keenan said parents who don’t pay child support were depriving their children of a better life.
“The government’s message to parents is simple, if you can afford an overseas holiday, then you can afford to support your children,” he said on Friday.
“That should be your first priority, not jetting off for a break in a foreign country.”
Late last year, a Victorian parent made a lump sum payment of more than $185,000 after the brakes were put on their travel plans.
Another person had been living overseas for several years and was hit with a travel ban when they made a brief visit to Australia late in 2018, prompting a $40,000 repayment.
“What these examples demonstrate is that many parents have the means to pay, but are deliberately dodging their obligation to support their kids,” Mr Keenan said.
The record child support recovery is $350,000 paid by an overseas resident in late 2017.
They were stopped at an Australian airport and told they would not be able to leave until the debt was settled, resulting in the payment being made within hours.
Child support travel bans by state: July to December
- NSW: 276
- QLD: 237
- VIC: 221
- WA: 160
- SA: 32
- NT: 14
- TAS: less than 10