House of Representatives Speech- Marriage (Celebrant Registration Charge) Bill 2013

The Marriage (Celebrant Registration Charge) Bill 2013 specifically implements the 2011-12 budget decision to introduce cost recovery for Commonwealth registered marriage celebrants from 1 July 2013.

The Marriage (Celebrant Registration Charge) Bill 2013 specifically implements the 2011-12 budget decision to introduce cost recovery for Commonwealth registered marriage celebrants from 1 July 2013.

The celebrant registration charge will enable the Attorney-General's Department to administer the Marriage Celebrants Program and deliver important services to Commonwealth registered marriage celebrants.

Under the government's cost recovery guidelines, the celebrant registration charge is a cost recovery levy. It is therefore necessary to introduce this separate bill.

The bill allows the amount of the charge to be set by the minister by legislative instrument up to a statutory limit which is set at $600 in the year commencing 1 July 2013.

We have indicated that the amount to be set will be lower than $600 in the introductory year. This may be amended by the minister in future years, to reflect the costs of administering the program.

The bill allows for indexation for future financial years, capped to reflect consumer price index increases over time. This will reduce the need to amend the primary legislation in the future.

For people who become marriage celebrants later than 1 July in any financial year, a determination may provide that different amounts of the celebrant registration charge are payable in respect of that year.

This is to reflect the costs incurred by the program in administering newly appointed celebrants until the following 1 July. It also acknowledges that people registered close to 1 July in any given year are not disadvantaged by paying a full celebrant registration charge twice in a short period of time.

The Marriage (Celebrant Registration Charge) Bill will provide legislative authority to charge Commonwealth registered marriage celebrants an annual celebrant registration fee. I commend the bill to the House.