Government Takes The Wedding Cake

April 24th, 2013 | Posted by rona in Cost Recovery Plan

MEDIA RELEASE: 15/04/13 10:01 AM

70% of all marriage ceremonies to be affected by unfair ‘quick fix’ solutions to a problem largely of the government’s own creation.

Marriage celebrants Australia wide are incensed that proposed changes to the Marriage Act of 1961 will impact upon 95% of all civil marriages with no gain in professional quality.

New fees to be imposed on July 1, 2013 include an annual registration fee for Commonwealth marriage celebrants, effectively adding extra costs and penalising couples choosing personalised civil wedding ceremonies.

Last year 121,725 marriages were performed in Australia. 70% of those were conducted by Commonwealth Registered Marriage Celebrants, the bulk of whom provide civil weddings. The government continues to appoint more new celebrants, even though the annual share of the “wedding cake” has dropped from 35 to 7 weddings for those celebrants in the last decade. Only 2% of Commonwealth registered celebrants actually earn a living from performing marriages.

These celebrants are appointed for life, provided they continue to be Fit & Proper persons, with a five yearly review and an obligation to undertake professional development each year at their own cost. The new Bill now requires annual reviews with an annual registration fee or the celebrant will lose their appointment.

The end result is that couples will have no guarantee that their chosen celebrant will still be registered on their wedding day! If their chosen celebrant is deregistered they may find their Notice to Marry assigned to a another celebrant with whom they have no rapport or confidence
their ceremony will be conducted according to their wishes.

There are other ways to collect funds for “Cost Recovery” that do not unfairly disadvantage the marrying public or their celebrants. It is clear that having flooded the market with excess marriage celebrants, the Government wants a quick fix to try to patch a flawed system.

“The peak advisory body, The Coalition of Celebrant Associations CoCA has proposed other options that would be more efficient, less costly and more equitable”, stated CoCA’s Chairperson Robyn Caine.

CoCA’s recommendations would return the Commonwealth Marriage Law and Celebrant section to its more important role of ensuring all marriages in Australia are treated equally under our country’s one law for all couples, regardless of how the celebrant is appointed.

The public have until 26th April 2013 to lodge submissions on these proposed Marriage Bills before a Inquiry by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. Details are available on the government website and Further details available on CoCA’s website

For more details:
Please Contact:
Chairperson – Robyn Caine ph: 0412 294537

Secretary – Rona Goold
ph: 0419 498768 or 02 4885 2393 (preferred)
Coalition of Celebrant Associations (CoCA) Incorporated
Peak Body for Australian Celebrants ABN 60306885313 PO Box 400 Seven Hills NSW 1730
CoCA has 13 or the 14 national associations as members Member Associations:

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One Response

  • BB - Name supplied says:

    What is Centrelink doing? I believe they are offering courses to people on the dole to take a Marriage Celebrant course so they can keep their benefits but after the course is over these people just maintain their benefits and don’e apply.

    Surely this is costing the Government money so why are they wasting money and trying to put the cost recovery on us?

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