Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Abbott Government move increasing the cost of getting married by a celebrant?

According to the Australian Attorney-General Department’s website, there are currently more than 10,000 Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants in this country.

Those wishing to become Commonwealth-registered celebrants now have to pay an upfront $600 application fee, on top of the cost of the basic training course (usually between $1,000-$2,000) and cost of required ongoing professional development.

All Commonwealth-registered celebrants will also have pay the Federal Government a $240 annual registration charge.

Their first annual charge invoice will arrive in July this year. If celebrants fail to pay by 3 September (or fail to apply for the very limited exemption) they will be deregistered on 13 September 2014 – no ifs or buts.

There were 10,300 Commonwealth-registered celebrants on the departmental list in 2011 and, if that number has not decreased the Abbott Government can expect to receive at least $2.4 million into its coffers in five months’ time and every year thereafter. Although the Attorney-General’s Department denies that the new annual charge is a revenue raising measure.

Celebrants conduct approximately 60,000 marriages each year which roughly averages out as 6 wedding ceremonies per celebrant each year and, with the celebrant’s fee ranging from an estimated $350-$950 (depending on the type of ceremony required the bride and groom), there does not appear to be much of an income to be derived.

I suspect that this new annual cost may see many celebrants raise their price for conducting weddings.

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