MEDIA RELEASE – NEW LAWS TO IMPROVE MARRIAGE CELEBRANT SERVICES

March 20th, 2013 | Posted by rona in Cost Recovery Plan

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
Attorney-General
Minister for Emergency Management

MEDIA RELEASE
20 March 2013

New laws to improve the services that Australians receive from marriage celebrants through the Commonwealth Marriage Celebrants Program will be introduced into federal parliament today.

“Weddings should be a day of celebration, where couples are focused on each other, their friends and family,” Attorney-General Mr Dreyfus said.

“These changes will help improve the professional development available for marriage celebrants and provide a more rigorous process to assess the suitability of aspiring celebrants.

By introducing these changes, the Government is responding to issues raised during consultation with marriage celebrants, the celebrant peak body and the state and territory Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

These issues include:
·         the need for a strengthened application process with a separate application fee
·         proposals for efficient processes and value for money from the fees and charges
·         suggested improvements to ongoing professional development structure
·         the need for increased telephone support and guidance information, which will be provided through a secure online portal

“The changes will improve regulation through performance monitoring and streamlined complaints handling mechanisms, said Mr Dreyfus.

Celebrants will be required to ensure they are registered annually and complete annual professional development. A new telephone line for celebrants and improved education and technology will also be established.

“Couples can be confident that a celebrant who is registered by the Commonwealth is committed to observing professional standards.”

The Marriage (Celebrant Registration Charge) Bill and the Marriage Amendment (Celebrant Administration and Fees) Bill will establish an annual registration charge of $240 for Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants. Exemptions from the registration charge will be available.

Media contact: Giulia Baggio 0400 918 776; Annie Williams 0428 040 522

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4 Responses

  • LM - Name supplied says:

    I think it is highly unfair to charge such a high registration fee and I cannnot see how it will increase professionalism with celebrants, as I know that we, as celebrants set out always to perform and give our services in the highest professional manner as it now stands. Our performance in front of many people is an advertisement of our services in itself and therefore performance is always and should always be professional at all levels.

    Living in the country I only do about 10 ceremonies a year and to remain professional without stresses on all parties I only do one wedding on any one day. To have to pay an annual rego fee, this increase would be passed on to the couple concerned and should the case arise, put all parties under stress as I would then consider doing more than one ceremony on any one day and this can bring about a lowering of my very high professional standard.

    Also, what are all the registration fees going to be used for. We already pay for our papers and forms required. We also have the option of paying insurance. I register mail all of the paperwork following a marriage to the registry office. I pay each year for my OPD. What will we see for our fee? Trust this will be discussed before decisions are made. Maybe tighter reins and capping on registered celebrants so as number of ceremonies a celebrant performs is increased to cover any future costs.

  • MM - Name Supplied says:

    I was appointed in 1995 and my appointment letter states that, given I remain a “fit and proper person” and that, given I fulfill my OPD requirements, that I am appointed for life. To read the proposal that if I do not pay promptly I will be de-registered. I am astounded.

    I am a professional educator and a professional celebrant. So are others. A registration fee is not going to make us any more professional.

    I do agree with “a more rigorous process” in the appointment of aspiring celebrants, but, for the life of me, I cannot understand how this can happen without an interview being part of this process.

  • DA Nems Supplied says:

    I am very disappointed in the changes. I feel the impact will be felt by couples when their fee go up to cover ever increasing costs. It is also something Celebrants did not sign up for, the rules seem to change ever few weeks. Personally I have a need to pay for my registration early as I will be unavailable for a few months but even that is too hard for the dept. I was told it can’t be paid early but if I didn’t pay on time I would probably be due registered. I think I have a case of learned helplessness, where do I go from here?

  • Name supplied says:

    As far as I can determine the proposed Bill will not make any effective change to a celebrant’s professional development.

    On what basis is the claim made that “Couples can be confident that a celebrant who is registered by the Commonwealth is committed to observing professional standards”? We already perform annual OPD. If anything it could be argued that couples can be LESS confident if the 5 yearly review is abolished. (Of course, that presupposes that MLCS have been complying with the requirement.

    To omit any mention that the fee applies only to SOME celebrants is misleading.

    The only ‘positive’ is the claim that MLCS will provide guidance through a “secure online portal”. How any advice is given is irrelevant. And what advice is proposed, given the MLCS has constantly stated that they are not there to give advice, and emphatically not in individual cases.

    Peter H.



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