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I am pleased to present to you the annual report of the Department of Family and Community Services for the year 2003-04 prepared in accordance with the requirements of section 63 of the Public Service Act 1999.
This report has been prepared in accordance with the Requirements for Annual Reports approved by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit under subsection 63(2) of the Public Service Act. Subsection 63(1) of that Act requires me to provide you with a report to present to the Parliament.
I am also required to give to you a report on the administrative operation of the social security law and the family assistance law under subsection 241(1) of the Social Security (Administration) Act 1999 and subsection 232(1) of the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) (Administration) Act 1999 as soon as practicable after 30 June each year.
This report also covers the performance of the Child Support Agency and provides relevant information as required by subsection 14(1) of the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988 and subsection 148(1) of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989.
I would like to take this opportunity, in presenting this report, to thank the staff of the department for their commitment and hard work and their capacity to rise to the challenges of the past year.
The Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS) is responsible for shaping social policies and ensuring they are delivered efficiently through partnerships with other government and non-government organisations.
FaCS focuses on families and people with different needs such as young people and students, people living in rural and remote areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
FaCS is responsible for about one-third of total government outlays. While FaCS’ national office is in Canberra, the department also has offices located in each state and territory throughout Australia, including in rural and regional areas.
FaCS is part of the Australian Government’s family and community services portfolio. The portfolio is responsible for a broad range of social policies and support affecting Australian society and the living standards of Australian families.
The portfolio consists of:
FaCS, which incorporates the Child Support Agency (CSA). CSA administers the Child Support Scheme and helps separated parents take responsibility for the financial support of their children