International travel bans force child support debt dodgers to cough up

More and more Australians are facing international travel bans for not paying their child support debts.

A total of 1,067 people were served with a Departure Prohibition Order (DPO) in a 6 month period, which stops them leaving the country until their debt is paid.

The numbers have increased by 50 percent on the same 6 month period the year before.


It’s all part of a Federal Government crackdown on parents who refuse to meet their child support obligations.

The initiative has helped recover more than $15 million between July 1 and December 30, 2018, which is $2.5 million more than the total amount for the full 2017-2018 financial year.

Queensland came in second place for the amount of DPOs issued during the first half of this financial year.

We clocked up 237, behind New South Wales’ 276.

According to Newscorp, Queensland has the highest amount of child support debt dodgers per capita, owing a whopping total of $364 million.

The biggest ever amount recovered from an Australian parent as a result of a DPO was a lump sum of $350,000 in late 2017.

The parent was stopped at the airport, and told they could not leave until the debt was settled.

Late last year, another parent agreed to make a payment of more than $185,000 after their travel was interrupted by a DPO.

Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan says the examples demonstration an unfortunate truth.

“What these examples demonstrate is that many parents have the means to pay, but are deliberately dodging their obligation to support their kids.

“Labor recouped just $6.7 million through the use of DPO’s during the 2012/13 financial year.

“We are on track to recover more than four times that amount this year,” Mr Keenan said.

“Paying child support is not a choice, it is a moral and legal obligation.

“Those who shirk their responsibilities are literally depriving their children of a better life and we make no apologies for using these tough measures to make them pay up.

“The Government’s message to parents is simple, if you can afford an overseas holiday, then you can afford to support your children.

“That should be your first priority, not jetting off for a break in a foreign country,” Mr Keenan said.