Coalition of Celebrant Associations

Australia’s Peak Celebrant Body

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  • Comment Link Karen Mann Thursday, 04 September 2014 14:50

    I understand why the Attorney-General's Department has initiated an application fee, and also an annual registration fee, for celebrants. It's all about cost cutting and revenue raising. However, this is a high cost occupation and a low income one, unless you do many, many weddings per year. Having only been registered for two years, and trying to build up my business, and faced with the prospect of needing $1,000 extra to upgrade my amplifier system in view of the sell off by the Government of radio frequencies, finding an extra $240 per year (and we have been no guarantee that it will remain at this level) makes things very difficult financially.

    On top of that we are required to purchase new stationery and are not going to be given a rebate for stationery previously purchased, which is now useless. I met a new Celebrant on Monday evening, and she had only just become registered and was in the process of setting up everything, and she told me that Canprint sold her a "Celebrant's starter kit" just prior to 30th June which was quite expensive, only to find that most of the forms in that kit were now obsolete!! Why wasn't she told of the changes?? Pure money grabbing.

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

  • Comment Link Gordon Sparks Thursday, 04 September 2014 12:25

    I was talking to a priest about the fee, and he asked what it was about. He said it was just a money grab and he has received no notice to pay the fee. He and other priests I know perform ceremonies out side of the church. I didn't ask if they have to do O.P.D.

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant NAME SUPPLIED & VERIFIED

    COCA COMMENT. Only Subdivision C Commonwealth marriage celebrants, are required to pay an annual, fee, work to a Code of Practice, have training in marriage law, and do a designated number of continuing professional development (CPD/OPD hours. There are approx. 23,000 celebrants in Subdivisions A and B.

  • Comment Link Charis white Thursday, 04 September 2014 11:05


    I was very annoyed the Canprint sold me a whole bunch of stationary three days prior to the paperwork change. They would have know what was going on, yet never informed me and just let me spend my money. Can I do anything?

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

  • Comment Link Willemina Garner Thursday, 04 September 2014 07:00

    I have recently moved to a new area of Queensland. I have no idea what the charges are here. Can anyone assist in addressing the pricing of marriage celebrant fees as I was undercut which I felt was not very ethical.

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

  • Comment Link Peter Phillips Wednesday, 03 September 2014 14:53

    Now that all Celebrants have to pay an annual registration fee, as well as complete OPD as well as comply with a Code of Conduct, the Celebrants section of the AG's should now have standards by which they must now comply. Like responding within X days to any e-mail enquiry, responding to messages on the message machine within y hours and the like. They are getting such an easy ride, yet we are being lumbered with m ore and more rules that we must comply with. ( like if you don't pay up within the designated time, you will be de-registered.)
    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

  • Comment Link Jennifer Grierson Wednesday, 03 September 2014 13:58

    Is the i.t. person in charge of the registered celebrant portal fully competent? I have been signed up for a month or so, then yesterday found that my password was now unacceptable so I had to waste time creating a new one.
    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

  • Comment Link Bonnie Royle Tuesday, 02 September 2014 18:54

    I'm happy to share my recent correspondence with the Marriage celebrants section - I just received their reply today...
    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant
    ------------------ Original Message -------------------
    From: Royle, Bonnie Evelyn
    Received: 29/08/2014 10:19 PM
    To: Marriage Celebrants Section (Email Address)
    Subject: Re: Annual Registration Charge - Reminder CRM:0014964

    Good Morning
    I have received your invoice number 6081400 with reference 1611100000066230 for $240 with the due date of 22nd September. This account will be paid by then.

    I think it is rude to send such a tardy and challenging reminder a month before the due date considering the shabby mistakes that were made with them in the first instance.

    Bonnie Royle
    Civil Marriage Celebrant Justice of the Peace (Qualified)

    Received 2nd September from Marriage celebrants Section:

    Dear Ms Royle
    Thank you for your email.
    I apologise that you have taken offense to our email on Friday 29 August in relation to the annual celebrant registration charge. This was not our intention. As you are aware the legislation governing the Marriage Celebrants Program does not provide any discretion in relation to late payments and is very clear that if an invoice is not paid by the due date celebrants will be de-registered. As such, it was our intention to ensure all celebrants were aware that an invoice had been issued to them and to enable them to make arrangements to make payment should they wish to continue practising as a celebrant.
    I again apologise for any offence taken through our earlier communication. Should you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact us on 1800 550 343.
    Kind regards
    (First Name)
    Enquiries Team | Marriage Law and Celebrants Section
    Australian Government
    Attorney-General’s Department

  • Comment Link Ros Mackay Tuesday, 02 September 2014 14:52

    I am very concerned about the new law that has been passed for Celebrants to pay an annual registration fee. I am more than happy to pay this fee but was never sent an invoice. When I contacted the Marriage Celebrants section I was told that they had sent an invoice on 14 July and I had until 12 September to pay it. When I pointed out that this invoice had not reached me and I'm anxious to pay it, they said that they will put me on the list to receive another one by email. I asked if they could email it to me immediately but was told that I was behind 400 other celebrants and it would take 5 working days. Giving me a week to pay it. I was then told if to call them if I didn't recieve it by Friday 5. I asked what would happen if I didn't receive the invoice by the 12 and was told I would be de registered if I didn't pay it by the 12 September. I then asked if they could just tell me what my invoice number was over the phone so I could fix up the payment through my portal and was told they couldn't do this as it came from a different department.
    What concerns me is that if I don't receive the invoice before the 12 September I will be taken off the register, ending my 7 year career as a Celebrant. The 30 or so couples who have booked me for the next 12 months will be disappointed, not to mention the weddings that I am supposed to be performing within the coming weeks where it is too late to pass onto another Celebrant.
    As this is the first year that this legislation has been implemented, there needs to be a certain amount of flexibility with late payments. I am on the brink of seeing my career and lively hood disappear through no fault of my own. I am incredibly stressed and have lost sleep over it.

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

    If you are not successful with your application for exemption, you can appeal through the Adminstrative Appeals Tribunal. CoCA has information on this process in an article on this website titled "Can I appeal the decision to revoke my authorisation?" See. . .

  • Comment Link Lorraine Dorothy Bobbie Symons Tuesday, 02 September 2014 11:33

    the AG's Portal sight is causing me untold grief I an never login it keeps telling me that my pass word is incorrect....RUBBISH......I have been sent so many new passwords and none of them work.......its a waste of time and effort......
    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

  • Comment Link Cheryl OGrady Tuesday, 02 September 2014 10:36

    I advise that I am retiring my appointment this year after 20 years of celebrancy. I have performed professionally and to the very best of my ability at all times. I reside in a very small, remote Central West village with a population of 466 - half of whom live on outlying farms. We do not however appear on the Attorney General's map of remote areas so I am not exempt from the recovery fee. During my celebrancy I have designed an association logo, edited a national association newsletter and trained and delivered OPD to fellow celebrants. In my current location I perform a small number of weddings annually so, rather than wear the additional cost on top of the cost of OPD, or inflict higher fees on struggling country people I have made the decision to resign my appointment. I would like to wish everyone of my fellow celebrants well for the future!

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

    COCA COMMENT: CoCA wishes to thank you for your valuable service to your community and wishes you all the very best for the future as well.

  • Comment Link Judith Ernst Tuesday, 02 September 2014 09:48

    This week I had a very very unhappy bride who is getting married in just over a month. She rang me crying as the celebrant told her that she has to change her time as he had booked another wedding. She did not wish to change and he cancelled her keeping the deposit ??? It was (Celebrant's Name) and he rang me yesterday and informed me that he had also booked two other weddings. What a good way to earn a deposit then cancel a bride.
    After a lot of arguing he returned the deposit under threat. He also told the bride I was not as good as him is and he sends me weddings which is quite untrue. We as professional celebrants should not comment on other celebrants characteristics to clients. I could sue him I believe (I wont).

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

  • Comment Link Jan Bastick Tuesday, 02 September 2014 08:43

    Why is AG's contacting Celebrant Associations directly and asking them to complete a questionnaire?

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

  • Comment Link Phyllis Edmonstone Tuesday, 02 September 2014 08:39

    I feel the AG fee of $240.should include a personal insurance . I am a new celebrant who has recently purchased the paperwork and now most of it will be obsolete by December I will have to repurchase it . It would be a help in reducing our set up costs if the AG provided the reprints free to all celebrants . I do agree the changes make the forms more straightforward for celebrants and couples to understand and needed to be changed.

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

  • Comment Link Sharon L Norris A06387 Monday, 01 September 2014 23:34

    CoCA, I am a celebrant living in one of Australia's remotest locations - Arnhem Land, NT. On the basis of remoteness, I recently received an exemption from Franca Musolino on the celebrant registration fee. But the whole process of applying for an exemption was ridiculous and caused me so much angst. I feel CoCA needs to know about this because the process is unfair for people seeking exemptions, i feel.

    I only get to take holidays twice a year, based around the main NT school holidays (Christmas and June/July). This year I left my remote location on 4 July, the same day as I was emailed the celebrant fee invoice. I had 14 days to apply for an exemption supplying specified supporting evidence of my address - all of which was left behind at my remote home because I'd already left before getting the email and didn't know it would be coming so soon.

    To make matters worse, I was holidaying in a location in Brisbane that had terrible internet access and could only intermittently get access on my phone. I had no way to scan and send any information to MCS. Thankfully a celebrant colleague came to my rescue and allowed me to use her home computer to apply for the exemption and to call Canberra.

    In desperation I contacted the MCS by phone and the person who answered my phone call sounded all of 15 and had to put me on hold twice while she consulted more senior people about my predicament.

    The exemption process is very unfair. In all the MCS consultations we raised concerns about not being able to pay if receiving our invoices while being away etc, and were told we would have 60 days to sort it out. However, in reality the 60 days only applies to people paying the full fee. Those of us seeking exemptions have just 14 days from the date of the invoice to apply for the exemption. This caught me at the worst possible time and I could not supply the specified evidence demanded by the MCS as proof of residence for my application. I ended up only being able to supply a scan of my electoral enrolment (as suggested by the MCS receptionist) and a scan of my driver's licence (even though licences aren't accepted documents under their system).

    To make matters worse, after receiving the exemption on 23 July, I received a rather rude email on Friday, 29 July from a nameless "Compliance Officer" at MCS advising me I hadn't paid my registration fee. You can imagine the sort of very blunt email I sent back attaching copies of my exemption advice email from Franca and the receipt for my application, and advising of my plans to commence legal action if I found myself de-registered through their incompetence. I've since found out from other colleagues around the country that I wasn't alone in receiving this rude communication. And a bigger question - if I had 60 days to pay up, why was I being hassled just 25 days after receiving the invoice??? Someone in MCS clearly can't do their maths.

    In future, as I have to apply annually for the exemption, I will have to compile all my address evidence before going on my mid-year holiday and take it with me in a form that can be emailed, so that I can ensure I have what they are asking for.

    I am certainly not impressed with the new system, and that fancy portal they promised would be filled with resources is a great black hole that currently only takes our cash.

    You, CoCA, were very influential in the Senate hearings process and helped institute this system, and therefore you need to do more to get it sorted out. I live in hope that the unfair process applying to people seeking exemptions is one of the things you look at closely. It seriously needs fixing!

    Thanks for listening.

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

    At the Senate hearing, The Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants (AFCC) spoke FOR the application of an annual fee on Subdivision C celebrants.

    CoCA's submission to the Senate Inquiry was AGAINST 1. The introduction of an annual fee applied to ONLY Commonwealth Subdivision C marriage celebrants for the regulation upon different principles than those applied to Subdivision A Marriage Celebrants of Recognised Religions and Subdivision B Marriage Officers of Registries of Birth, Deaths and Marriages. 2. The services planned by the Marriage Law Celebrant Section NOT meeting the Cost Recovery Guidelines requirements for cost efficiency, cost effectiveness applied to the end users which CoCA considered as the marrying public, NOT the marriage celebrants who are providing valid marriage services on behalf of the government.

  • Comment Link Paul ODonohue Monday, 01 September 2014 22:20

    The New NOIM form needs to be redone.
    Some sections too small and others too big.
    Hasn't been thought out or designed properly.

    Commonwealth Marriage Celebrant

  • Comment Link Alan Smith Monday, 01 September 2014 18:38

    Hi I have recently retired from Celibrancy and I don't think it is any longer appropriate for me to be involved with any Celebrant Associations. Good luck for the future but please remove me from your mailing list. best regards Alan


    COCA COMMENT: CoCA wishes to thank you for your valuable service to your community and wishes you all the very best for the future as well.

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