Wednesday, 16 April 2014
According to the Australian Attorney-General Department’s website, there are currently more than 10,000 Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants in this country.
In March 2014 the Abbott Government removed the obligation for the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants to review the performance of each celebrant every five years and changed the fee structure for these celebrants.
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.