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Better deal for separating de facto couples in WA moves closer

Media Release

Attorney-General, Christian Porter, said the passage of the Family Law Amendment (Western Australian De Facto Superannuation Splitting and Bankruptcy) Bill 2020 means that WA is moving into line with the rest of Australia in the treatment of superannuation assets for de facto couples who are going through separation.

“De facto couples separating in WA cannot currently split their superannuation assets, as those everywhere else in Australia can,” the Attorney-General said. “This inequity has particular impacts on women, who on average, have less superannuation to be considered in property settlements.

“As a consequence of this situation, women have often not been able to achieve a fair split in property settlements in the West, especially in circumstances where they have less superannuation than their partner, and where other assets, such as property, are heavily mortgaged. The successful passage of this Bill through the Parliament now means this unfair situation is closer to ending.

“The next step in this reform process will be for the West Australian Government to introduce and secure passage through the WA Parliament of its own legislation to support the operation of this reform.  This is necessary because WA administers its own family law legislation which covers de facto couples, and is the only State in Australia to run its own Family Court system.”

The Attorney-General said that between 2003 and 2010 all states, except WA, provided the Commonwealth with a full referral of powers relating to de facto financial matters, including superannuation.

“After more than a decade of wrangling between the Commonwealth and WA, the Morrison Government in 2018 accepted the limited referral provided by WA relating to superannuation so that this inequality for separating West Australian de facto couples could finally be resolved,” the Attorney-General said.