The 2015/2016 Government Budget proposes two key measures, namely:
- Formation of a single administrative body. This will be achieved by merging the administrative functions of the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court of Australia with the Federal Court of Australia from 1 July 2016. This will allow each court to continue to function independently in its practice however all administrative functions will be streamlined allowing for a more efficient system.
- Changes to the fee structure of the the Family Court, Federal Circuit Court and Federal Court of Australia from 1 July 2015. For instance, the fee for an Application for Divorce which is currently $845.00 will increase. The specific changes to fees will not be available until 1 July 2015. The increased fees will raise $87.4 million over 4 years.
Further measures in the Budget include:
- Addition of $22.5 million over 4 years to the Family Court, Federal Circuit Court and Federal Court of Australia in order to strengthen their financial positions and improve their capacity to provide services.
- National Awareness campaign focused on reducing family violence against women and children – $16.7 million has been allocated over 3 years from 2015/2016. This is part of a joint Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreement for a $30 million campaign.
- Establish an inter-country adoption support service – $33.7 million has been allocated over five years from 2014/2015.
- Ceasing the Stronger Relationships Trial from 9 February 2015 – saving of $17.2 million.
- There are no new increases or decreases to legal assistance funding.