Revoking a DPO
Once a Departure Prohibition Order (DPO) is made under the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act (CSRC), the Registrar must revoke it in certain circumstances and may revoke or vary it in other circumstances (section 72I). The Registrar can revoke or vary a DPO in response to representations made by the child support debtor or because of the Registrar becoming aware of new information.
When the Registrar must revoke a DPO
The Registrar must revoke a DPO when both of the following 2 tests are satisfied.
The first test has 2 alternative parts. Either
- the child support liability has been wholly discharged or that satisfactory arrangements have been made to discharge the debt
- the Registrar is satisfied that the child support liability is completely irrecoverable.
(If either of these conditions is present, the first test is satisfied.)
The second test applies to future child support liability and also has 2 alternative parts. Either
- the Registrar is satisfied that any child support liability to which the person may become subject to in respect of matters that have already occurred will be wholly discharged or that satisfactory arrangements will be made to discharge those liabilities
- the Registrar is satisfied that any such child support liability will be completely irrecoverable.
(If either of these conditions is present, the second test is satisfied.)
A debt is wholly discharged when no part of it remains owing. A child support debt can be wholly discharged either by payment of the debt or by an administrative or judicial process that decreases the amount of the debt. Where either or both of these processes result in no part of the debt remaining payable, the debt is wholly discharged. A debt treated as uneconomic to pursue is not wholly discharged.
Those arrangements that lead the Registrar to be satisfied that the debt will be wholly discharged are satisfactory arrangements. A common sense approach is required to determine whether arrangements are satisfactory in each case. A payment arrangement that effectively requires the presence of the debtor in Australia to function is not a satisfactory arrangement. Where the debtor has sold property and needs to leave Australia before settlement occurs, a section 72A notice in relation to the known proceeds would be a satisfactory arrangement.
A debt will be regarded as completely irrecoverable when there is no prospect that the debtor will be able to make any payment towards it.
When the Registrar may revoke a DPO
Even where the tests outlined above are not satisfied, the Registrar has discretion to revoke a DPO where the Registrar considers it desirable to do so. The Registrar will exercise this discretion in a way that supports the objects of the Acts.