More than one parent a day are being stopped at airports and seaports across Australia as a record number of parents with outstanding child support debts attempt to travel overseas.
Many of those prevented from travelling are also able to immediately pay their debt, according to human services minister Michael Keenan, which shows it is often a case of parents being unwilling to pay their support than unable to do so.
According to The Guardian, one parent paid $350,000 in a single payment after being stopped at an airport last year, while another paid $60,000 on the spot.
“If a parent can afford to take an overseas holiday ... they can and should be made to pay what they owe,” a statement from Mr Keenan’s office said.
“The welfare of their children should be their first priority, not getting a tan on a beach in Bali.”
Surpassing the former record of 333 people during the previous financial year, in the first 10 months of this year, 358 people were stopped at their point of departure and told to pay their outstanding debts or cancel their travel plans.
So far this financial year, parents leaving the country have paid a record $10.4 million in welfare.
Unenviably, NSW has the most number of indebted parents trying to leave Australia, with 89 dads and mums stopped at their departure points, followed Queensland (69), Victoria (51), Western Australia (50) and South Australia (11).